Austin-Central Texas Suicide Prevention Coalition

Suicide is preventable, yet it is one of the leading causes of death in our state. For young people ages 15-34, it is the second leading cause of death.
One Texan dies every 3 hours by suicide.

 

The Austin-Central Texas Suicide Prevention Coalition is a collaboration of local government agencies, healthcare providers, schools and community-based organizations. We strive to reduce suicides through advocacy efforts, implementation of evidence-based strategies and trainings for schools, mental health service providers and the community.

Trainings, Toolkits & Resources

Support for People Impacted by Suicide
Prevention Strategies
Postvention Strategies

The Austin-Central Texas Suicide Prevention Coalition supports the goals and objectives of:

  • the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention
  • the 2014 Texas State Plan for Suicide Prevention
  • the Zero Suicide in Texas (ZEST) initiative

“No matter where we live or what we do every day, each of us has a role in preventing suicide. Our actions can make a difference. We have no time to waste.”

 

-2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention

Austin Out of the Darkness Walk
November 10, 2018
Join the effort with hundreds of thousands of people to raise awareness and funds that allow the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy and support survivors of suicide loss.

Regarding assessment tools, we decided to add the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) (Lifetime/Recent Version, Adult and Pediatric/Cognitively Impaired) to our Crisis Assessment and also to both the Adult and Child Behavior Narrative assessments. The C-SSRS Screener has been used by all our prescribers as well, and is another tool available for all our staff.

 

Dr. Kelly Posner, of Columbia University, who created the C-SSRS, and her staff recently commented on the public health approach to helping those at risk of suicide – “The public health approach to risk identification and suicide prevention will be the way we move the needle on this issue. Due to the access and stigma barriers to mental health care these questions need to be in the hands of everyone so we can find people where they live and breathe. A recent large study of 11,000 students from 10 EU countries demonstrated that the suicide prevention training component that had the largest impact on suicide attempts was having peers role play with their peers. A healthcare system in Connecticut recently told us that they provide these questions to their janitors, which was quickly echoed by the VA hospital where a recent patient who never spoke to anyone except the janitor. So, having the questions and knowing when to worry about a patient is good prevention. Additionally, this gives the layperson the same language as the medical and mental health professionals, improving communication and care delivery.

 

This approach has been embraced across the DOD as the attached memo from the Undersecretary of Defense highlights. It states, “The Defense Suicide Prevention Office (DSPO) supports the use of the Columbia – Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) – Screening Version for use within military communities, and more specifically, with military commands, community counselors, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response victim advocates, chaplains, law enforcement, firefighters, first responders, attorneys, peers, and other gatekeepers.” In our work with the Zero Suicide model in the Air Force (see below), everyone – airmen, spouses, dentists, teachers, security, etc. – all have the questions for early identification of suicide risk. In the very near future, we will be presenting a training on this to all non-medical VA employees from the cafeteria worker to the cemetery employees.

 

We have also learned from our work with communities that putting a screener like the C-SSRS into the hands of teachers, parents, coaches, first responders and youth has the potential not only to save the lives of youth who are at risk of suicide but, because of the demonstrated connection between suicide and school violence (up to 80% of school shooters have a documented history of suicidal thoughts or behaviors), also has the potential to prevent these tragedies. We had the recent privilege to present this to the U.S. Senators from Florida at their School Safety Forum at the invitation of one of the Parkland parents who lost a child.

Childhood abuse, a recent upsetting event, access to a gun, or a hostile work or school environment could all cause someone to complete suicide. Family and friends can all help prevent suicide for people they know.

 

You can help prevent suicide by looking for these signs.

  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Loss of interest in social and regular activities
  • Major changes in weight or appetite
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Pulling away from friends or family
  • Not able to focus or think clearly
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Giving away things they love

 

A cry for help could come in a public place such as social media. Know where to look.

 

How You Can Help Someone Thinking About Suicide

1. Believe what they say. Take words and actions seriously.

2. Listen and don’t judge.

3. Ask about thoughts or plans for suicide.

4. Get help. Do not leave them alone until help is available.

 

Consider taking Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). MHFA is an 8-hour training that provides people the basic tools to help someone showing signs of mental illness or substance use disorder or experiencing a mental health crisis. MHFA can save a life, just like CPR can save someone who can’t breathe or is having a heart attack. Click here to sign up for a free training in your area.

If you need to talk or are concerned about someone:

  • Call Integral Care’s 24/7 Crisis Helpline
    512-472-HELP (4357)

 

 

 

If someone is in immediate crisis:

  • Call 911 and ask for a Mental Health Officer

 

  • Go to Integral Care’s Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES)
    1165 Airport Blvd, 2nd floor, Austin 78702
    Monday-Friday 8am-10pm  |  Saturday, Sunday & Holidays 10am-8pm

 

  • Go to Dell Children’s Hospital
    4900 Mueller Blvd, Austin 78723

 

  • Go to any hospital emergency room

Click here to download the Austin-Central Texas Suicide Prevention Coalition infosheet.
To join the coalition or for more information, email actxspcoalition@integralcare.org.

The Austin-Central Texas Suicide Prevention Coalition is led by co-chairs Integral Care and Ascension Seton.

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