Photo by Claudia Wolff on Unsplash
Genesee Health System (GHS) recently launched a new suicide prevention media campaign. Genesee County residents will see outside billboards, radio and television spots talking about the importance of suicide prevention. This comes at very important time as many experts warn to expect an increase in suicide rates because of the mental health outcomes that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The suicide prevention campaign urges the community to “Speak Up and Reach Out” and provides a crisis and virtual urgent care telephone number (810-257-3740) that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. People can also text FLINT to 741741 for the Crisis Text Line. Also available to the public, is an updated website www.LetsTalkGenesee.com, where people can visit for valuable suicide prevention materials. When residents call GHS, they will be provided with immediate emotional support from trained staff and will be connected to the help they need.
The nation has already experienced an increase in suicide rates in nearly every state from 1999 through 2016. Specifically, Michigan saw a 33% increase during those years. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), suicide is one of the ten leading causes of death in Genesee County, in the state of Michigan and in the nation. According to MDHHS, adolescents and young adults (10-24 years of age) in Michigan have been impacted even more with a suicide increase from 6.3 to 10.6 per 100,000 from 2007-2017. In addition to the youth segment seeing an alarming increase, veterans, middle-aged men, isolated elderly, LGBTQ youth, American Indians and Alaskan Natives continue to be priority populations. In Genesee County, about 50 people die from suicide each year.
“The increased risk of suicide from the COVID-19 pandemic is evident and GHS is responding,” said Danis Russell, CEO of GHS. “In addition to the suicide prevention media campaign, GHS has required evidence-based suicide prevention training for all of our staff. This training focuses on identifying suicide risk among patients with mental illness and/or substance use disorders. We want to ensure that not only our staff and provider network are trained, but also other providers in the community. Additional suicide prevention training licenses have been made available at no cost to community members by visiting https://www.genhs.org/LivingWorks.“
These prevention activities have been paid for with local funds through Region 10 PIHP.
Genesee Health System provides services and support to Genesee County residents who are adults and children with developmental disabilities, adults with serious mental illness, children with serious emotional disturbances and adults and children with substance use disorders, with a focus on the health of the whole person.