(Ithaca, NY – September 12, 2023) – Tompkins County Whole Health (TCWH) is sharing with the community about an upcoming event, on behalf of the Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Coalition (TCSPC). The event, “How Healthcare Helps Prevent Suicides,” will be a community town hall to discuss local efforts to implement the “Zero Suicide” model for improving healthcare support for at-risk individuals.
The town hall will take place at the Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC) at 301 W. Court Street (Ithaca) on Thursday, September 28th from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.. The town hall will feature panel discussions about why suicide is a public health challenge and how the “Zero Suicide” model is used by healthcare systems to prevent suicide deaths. This event is free to attend and is open to the public.
TCWH Commissioner Frank Kruppa will kick off the town hall with opening remarks. Organizations serving as presenters and panelists include: TCWH’s Mental Health Services; Cayuga Health System; Cayuga Medical Associates; Guthrie Medical Group, Cortland; Cornell University; Ithaca City School District; Alcohol and Drug Council; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; Suicide Prevention & Crisis Service (988 Call Center); Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services; Smile Through the Storms; and The Sophie Fund.
In addition, coalition work groups will give brief presentations on their work to improve suicide data collection and analysis, prevent suicides among young people, and reduce access to lethal means within at-risk populations.
Several local mental health agencies and organizations will be present to provide information and answer questions. Participating programs will include: Tompkins County Whole Health; Tompkins County Office of Veterans Services; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; Mental Health Association in Tompkins County; Suicide Prevention & Crisis Service (988 Call Center); American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Greater Central New York; and the National Alliance on Mental Illness Finger Lakes.
“We recognize the critical role of healthcare in preventing suicide deaths,” said Zoe Lincoln, TCWH’s Planner and Coordinator of the Tompkins County Zero Suicide Steering Committee, a collaborative group of local healthcare leaders. “The Town Hall highlights county-wide dedication to saving lives through evidence-based best practices, via the Zero Suicide Model. Together, we strive to elevate the standard of care and support for our community members in need."
“Zero Suicide” is an emerging suicide prevention model designed to save lives by closing gaps in suicide care in healthcare as well as behavioral health settings. The model calls for systematic use of screening for self-harm, safety planning for patients deemed at risk, referrals to appropriate levels of further care, safe transitions of care between providers, and evidence-based treatment for suicidality, among other tools.
Implementation of “Zero Suicide” across local healthcare is one of the objectives listed in the Coalition’s 2022-2025 Strategic Plan. In 2022, leaders from community and campus healthcare providers formed the Tompkins County Zero Suicide Steering Committee to lead and coordinate efforts.
The Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Coalition was formed in 2017 and is comprised of health agencies, community organizations, and individual members who share a determination to prevent suicide deaths in the community.
“We are excited to present this Town Hall with a focus on Zero Suicide,” said Sally Manning, Racker Program Director and convenor of the Coalition. “We recognize suicide as a serious public health concern. The Coalition has a vision for our community where no lives are lost to suicide. This is a chance to learn more about suicide prevention and what we can all do to help those who may be struggling.”
September is National Suicide Prevention Month.
Suicide continues to be the second leading cause of death among Americans aged 10-34. According to the Coalition, Tompkins County has averaged 12 suicide deaths per year from 2016 to 2021. Another 1,600 parents, children, siblings, friends, and spouses may have been negatively impacted annually by psychological, spiritual, and/or financial loss resulting from the suicide deaths, the Coalition says.
The Coalition’s strategic plan states: “We believe that the persistent rise in the U.S. suicide rate over the past two decades demands a public health response from communities across the nation.”
Tompkins County Whole Health (formerly the Tompkins County Health Department) envisions a future where every person in Tompkins County can achieve wellness. Find us online at TompkinsCountyNY.gov/health, and follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/TompkinsWholeHealth and on Twitter at @TCWholeHealth. Get Whole Health updates or other county announcements via email or text, sign up here.
Media contact: Shannon Alvord, email@example.com