Ivie: Answering the call to save lives
In February 2021, almost one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Surgeon General sent out a call to action regarding suicide prevention. Implementation of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention includes six priority actions for suicide prevention in the United States.
“Urgent action around suicide prevention is needed at the federal, state, tribal, and local levels to fully implement the goals and objectives of the National Strategy and change the trajectory of suicide in our country,” the National Action Alliance noted in the call to action.
Here in Eagle County, we are well on our way to meeting this call to action. Eagle County, alongside SpeakUp ReachOut, is working diligently to activate a broad-based public health response to suicide. Empowering every community member to play a role in suicide prevention efforts and centering those with lived experience in our work are top priorities for us.
We are so blessed in Eagle County to have a diverse offering of nonprofit organizations that work tirelessly to address upstream factors that impact suicide. Without offerings from these organizations that promote social connectedness and opportunity for contribution, engage and support high-risk and under-served populations, we would be far behind the curve.
The Gun Shop Project, which is a collaborative initiative between SURO and the Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention, works to ensure lethal means safety. Continuing education courses for our medical professionals about counseling on lethal means safety is also a SURO focus in 2021.
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Through Eagle Valley Behavioral Health and its partners in health care, we have been able to provide more continuing education regarding evidence-based care for suicide risk, increase suicide risk identification in health care settings and provide suicide safe care pathways.
The Hope Center of Eagle Valley has been enhancing the crisis care and care transitions in the Eagle Valley since its inception in 2018. Mobile crisis response in our community has changed the way those in crisis receive care. Although not a reality yet, a cross-functional behavioral health facility that will include crisis receiving and stabilization facilities right here in Eagle County is expected to break ground in the near future.
With the new Psychological Autopsy Research Initiative launched in February 2021, SURO is working to improve the quality, timeliness and use of suicide death related data right here in Eagle County to advise the programs and services offered to prevent suicide in the future.
The dedication of resources to the development, implementation and evaluation of programs aimed at preventing suicide in our community from Eagle Valley Behavioral Health has made doing all this work much more attainable and realistic.
SpeakUp ReachOut is committed to continuing to fight to stop suicide in our community. We hope you will join us by taking the Power of Hope Pledge and having a voice at the table. SpeakUp ReachOut and the Total Health Alliance host a quarterly community meeting to hear your experiences in the behavioral health care system so that we can better serve this community. Visit our website to learn more about how you can get involved in training, awareness, and hope.
The full Surgeon General Call to Action can be viewed at: hhs.gov/sites/default/files/sprc-call-to-action.pdf.
Erin Ivie is the executive director of SpeakUp ReachOut. Find out more at https://www.speakupreachout.org/.