Suicide on the Rise

Suicide rates have been increasing since 2000 after decades of decline, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

From 1999 to 2015, approximately 600,000 U.S. residents died by suicide, with 2015 being the deadliest year. And not all groups are suffering equally, as those in rural communities — especially white and Native Americans — are dealing with the highest suicide rates.

Rates among youth, especially adolescent girls, have also risen sharply in the past few years.

Strategies to reverse these trends will be discussed at the September 26, 2017, meeting of the Behavioral Health Alliance of Grundy County.  The meeting will be held at 3 p.m. at the Canalport Conference Room, 518 W. Illinois Ave. in Morris.

Gia Washington, Community Development Manager at Sertoma Centre, Inc., will provide an overview of suicide in the United States, including statistics and identification of high-risk populations.

She will discuss warning signs to help participants identify people who might be at risk of suicide, and she will teach participants how to assist someone who might be experiencing suicidal ideation.

Evidence-based suicide prevention trainings and other resources are available, often at low or no cost.  Ms. Washington will provide details about many of these resources.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.   This BHA meeting offers a great opportunity to learn more about this pressing issue and how communities can address it. For more information, please email the BHA at bhagrundy@gmail.com.

Download our Sep 26 BHA Meeting Flyer for more information about the meeting.

 

“MISSING PIECES” Assessment

The Behavioral Health Alliance of Grundy County sponsored a community dialogue and information gathering session on Tuesday, January 24, 2017, at the Grundy County Administration Center, 1320 Union St., Morris IL.  The meeting was themed “Missing Pieces.”

About 40 stakeholders—from referrers to providers to clients—in Grundy County’s behavioral health system took part in this discussion of needs and gaps, especially in regard to youth and young adults.  Insights gathered in the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment will be shared as part of a process that suggests potential collaborations to address gaps and challenges.

You can get a copy of the “Missing Pieces” assessment summary by emailing your request to bhagrundy@gmail.com.

 


Youth Mental Health First Aid

In Fall of 2015, the Grundy County Health Department was selected by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as a grant recipient for their Now is the Time Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience Education) program.  The program is designed to build and expand the capacity of state and local agencies to increase awareness of mental health and substance abuse issues among school-age youth.  Under this initiative, the Health Department is providing Youth Mental Health First Aid training to adults who work with youth.

What is Mental Health First Aid?

Mental Health First Aid originated in Australia in 2001 by Betty Kitchener, a nurse with specialization in health education, and Anthony Jorm, a mental health literacy professor.  Its development has evolved into an 8-hour public education course that introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental illness, helps build participants’ understanding of the impact of mental health disorders, and also overviews common supports.  The course made its debut in the U.S. in 2008 and is coordinated by The National Council for Behavioral Health, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

Mental Health First Aid USA worked with experts at the National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health at the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development to create the youth program.  Youth Mental Health First Aid was introduced in 2012 to focus on how to assist youth ages 12-18 that may be developing or experiencing a mental health challenge. Participants learn about the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents and utilizes role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to assess for a mental health crisis, select interventions and provide initial help, and connect young people to professional, peer, social, and self-help care.  Participants do not learn to diagnose, nor how to provide therapy.  Rather, they learn to support youth by applying a five-step action plan:

  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm
  • Listen nonjudgmentally
  • Give reassurance and information
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies

Who should take the course?

Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed for adults who regularly interact with youth.  This includes teachers, school personnel, coaches, youth group leaders, parents, recreational group staff, as well as medical staff, employers, business leaders, faith communities, and first responders, and the general public!

Since its inception, Mental Health First Aid courses have resulted in over 600,000 adults being trained and is included on SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices.  The program itself was included in President Obama’s plan to reduce gun violence and increase access to mental health services.  In 2014, Congress appropriated $15 million to SAMHSA for training teachers and school personnel in Youth Mental Health First Aid and the program continues to receive broad bipartisan support.

What will this program do for Grundy County?

It is expected that over the course of three years, this initiative will include training 400 adults in Youth Mental Health First Aid, thereby positively impacting the lives of 8,000 Grundy adolescents, ages 12-18.  The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Division of the Grundy County Health Department plans to maximize community partnerships and referral systems in order to better intervene with youth who are demonstrating early warning signs and symptoms of mental health conditions.   With 50% of all lifetime cases of mental illness beginning by age 14 and 75 % by age 24, our goal is to increase knowledge, combine that with community resources and referral sources, and aim to have Grundy youth directed to needed services at earlier ages, thereby reducing more serious behavioral health issues later on in life.

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Membership Information

If you are interested in becoming a BHA member, download the BHA membership form here.


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