For School Staff, Suicide Prevention Resources

Teens may have a tough time coping emotionally with the stress, fear, and uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. AAP says that feeling depressed, hopeless, anxious or angry are signs that they may need more support.

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For school administrators and teachers preparing to address student mental health challenges in the next school year, resources are available on the website of the Suicide Prevention Center  of New York State (SPCNY).

“Staff are uniquely positioned to identify warning signs and subtle behavior changes, and schools should plan for what to do if suicide risk is identified,” says SPCNY. The center urges school districts develop written procedures for staff to follow when warning signs of suicide are observed or suspected.

SPCNY cites a 2017 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Behavior Survey showing that 31.4 percent of New York State high school students reported feeling sad or hopeless, 17.2 percent seriously considered attempting suicide, and 7.4 percent reported a suicide attempt in the previous 12 months. “Because youth spend a large proportion of their time in school, schools play a central role in New York State’s effort to prevent suicide,” SPCNY says.

SPCNY’s website lists several suicide prevention training programs designed specifically for school staff. They include trainings on recognizing warning signs, helping at-risk students, and responding to a suicide or other traumatic death in the school community.

The website also lists resources for educators:

Crisis Text Line Marketing Toolkit

Kognito’s At Risk online modules can be accessed for free by New York City educators

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Act on Facts: Making Educators Partners in Youth Suicide Prevention – Three-minute trailer and full training modules

Sources of Strength is a suicide-prevention program that utilizes peer leaders to change unhealthy norms and culture and, ultimately, prevent bullying, substance use, and suicide.

Good Behavior Game is an evidence-based classroom program that improves self-regulation and co-regulation among 1st and 2nd graders. Longitudinal studies have found decreases in suicide, mental health problems, and substance use, among other outcomes.

JED Foundation provides resources and information for High School personnel

School Mental Health and High School Curriculum Guide

SPCNY also produced “A Guide for Suicide Prevention in New York Schools.” (Download PDF) The guide provides an overview of suicide risk factors, warning signs, and protective factors. It also outlines a wealth of information on prevention programs, targeting higher risk groups for support, and providing individualized intervention.

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According to SPCNY, deaths by suicide in New York State have increased by 32 percent in the past decade, in stark contrast to gradual reductions in the death rate for other diseases such as cancer, heart disease or stroke. The rate of suicide in all age groups has continued to steadily rise in the last decade and the rate of suicide death among children 10 to 14 has doubled in that same time frame.

“Addressing the problem of youth suicide requires collaborative action across a variety of community agencies, but schools have logically assumed more of a leadership role in identifying, referring, and aiding youth with mental health needs,” SPCNY says. “Schools also play a critical role in promoting psychosocial competencies that reduce vulnerability to suicide.”

SPCNY notes that given that the developmental trajectory for suicide risk can begin early in life, schools are uniquely positioned for building resilience among their students and developing a caring community within a positive school climate and culture necessary for the prevention of suicide.

[If you or someone you know feels the need to speak with a mental health professional, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.]

 

 

Mental Health Help During the Covid-19 Pandemic

The American Psychiatric Association is providing an online guide to resources to help families, professionals, and community leaders address mental health challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic. Click here to go directly to the APA website.

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For patients, family members or friends in need of immediate assistance:

  • Disaster Distress Helpline (SAMHSA)
    Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Link)
    Call 800-273-8255 or Chat with Lifeline
  • Crisis Textline (Link)
    Text TALK to 741741
  • Veterans Crisis Line (VA)
    Call 800-273-8255 or text 838255

 

For Families:

 

For Health Care and Community Leaders:

 

For Hospitalists and Primary Care:

 

For Psychiatrists:

With COVID-19 evolving rapidly across the world, APA’s Committee on Psychiatric Dimensions of Disasters and the APA’s Council on International Psychiatry compiled the following list of resources for psychiatrists. The resources cover not only the physical impact of the coronavirus, but on its potential mental health and psychosocial issues and responses. The resources also include a section on telepsychiatry, to prepare for the possibility of isolation and/or quarantine.

Webinars

APA is producing webinars to provide up-to-date information as the situation evolves.

APA Spring Highlights Meeting 2020

  • Featuring psychiatry’s foremost experts and leaders, including federal mental health agency directors and APA leadership

Recordings and slide downloads from this live, virtual event are now available. Sessions include physician leadership, telepsychiatry, and healthcare worker and organizational sustainment during COVID-19.

Access Recordings

Serious Mental Illness and COVID-19: Tailoring ACT Teams, Group Homes, and Supportive Housing

  • Adina Bridges, LCSW; Kurt Cousins, M.D.; Helle Thorning, Ph.D., M.S., LCSW-R

This free townhall presentation, from a panel of SMI experts, answers questions about arising best practices being implemented by Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams, and supporting those in supportive housing or group homes.

Access Recording

How to Address COVID 19 Across Inpatient, Residential and other Non-Ambulatory Care Settings

  • Faculty: Harsh Trivedi, M.D., M.B.A.; Ryan Kimmel, M.D.; Frank A. Ghinassi, Ph.D.

In this free webinar from APA and the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare (NABH), hear from experts about how to manage different types of services, key messages to give to your team leaders, unique challenges for people with SMI, how to handle group therapy, and more.

Access Recording

Telepsychiatry in the Era of COVID-19

  • Faculty: Peter Yellowlees, MBBS, M.D.; John Torous, M.D.

This free webinar from SMI Adviser (APA & SAMHSA) offers learners an overview of how to use telemental health and video visits in the changing landscape surrounding the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

Access Recording

Managing the Mental Health Effects of COVID-19

  • Faculty: Joshua C. Morganstein, M.D., CAPT; Stephen J. Cozza, MD, COL

This free webinar from APA will outline how psychiatrists can support patients, communicate with family members and children, and be a resource to other providers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Access Recording

 

COVID-19 Psychiatric Practice Guidance

[UPDATED 4/17] APA is tracking guidance released by the Department of Health and Human Services and at the state level related to COVID-19 to assist psychiatrists with providing mental health and substance use services.

View recent changes and guidance impact telehealth, substance use disorders and treatment services, and inpatient psychiatric settings.

Learn More Here

 

APA’s Practice Management HelpLine

If you are an APA member, APA’s Practice Management HelpLine is ready to assist you with your practice management needs. Help is available on how to manage the day-to-day operations of your practice in the midst of this pandemic, including telehealth, coding, documentation, reimbursement, contracting with managed care companies, Medicare, Medicaid, and more.

Learn More Here

 

CDC Information

 

COVID-19 & Mental Health

 

New Telehealth Rules

Rules regarding the practice of telepsychiatry have changed quickly. CMS released guidance on March 17, 2020, that now allows patients to be seen via live videoconferencing in their homes, without having to travel to a qualifying “originating site” for Medicare telehealth encounters, regardless of geographic location.

To learn more about whether telepsychiatry may be a helpful option for your practice, and to access APA’s collection of resources on telepsychiatry, use the links below:

 

 

How New York Fights Suicide

Hundreds of mental health professionals, scholars, and advocates are participating in the 2019 New York State Suicide Prevention Conference in Albany this week. The robust two-day program shows why New York is a national leader in this cause.

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Sessions at the fourth annual conference include discussions on risk factors for ethnic/racial minorities, training for primary care providers, child abuse and suicide, engaging veterans, collegiate mental health, prevention tools for schools, the impact of suicide on caregivers, and much more. Click here to download a copy of the 2019 conference program.

The Sophie Fund thanks all these suicide prevention champions for the tremendous efforts they make every day to save lives.

Special thanks to state officials who have so strongly supported suicide prevention initiatives in Tompkins County—New York Mental Health Commissioner Anne Sullivan; Jay Carruthers and Sigrid Pechenik, Director and Associate Director of the New York Suicide Prevention Office; and Garra Lloyd-Lester, director of NYS Suicide Prevention Community & Coalition Initiatives.

There’s much still do be done, but New York is making a difference.

[If you or someone you know feels the need to speak with a mental health professional, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.]

Our Community Walks to Prevent Suicide

Thanks to everyone who participated in Saturday’s annual “Out of the Darkness” Walk in support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Our mission to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide would not be possible without you. This year, the 383 people taking part in the walk held in Myers Park in Lansing raised more than $34,000.

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AFSP started as a research-based organization, when a small group of families affected by suicide banded together with scientists who wanted to understand more. The funds raised in “Out of the Darkness” walks throughout the country help fund innovative and exciting research that will enable us to find better ways to stop suicide. This past year, AFSP invested nearly $5 million dollars in cutting edge scientific research.

The funds also help AFSP develop and share education programs like “Talk Saves Lives,” and “It’s Real,” a film about college students and mental health. These programs give people practical strategies for recognizing the warning signs, and preventing suicide in their communities. AFSP’s Interactive Screening Program gives students, workers, and veterans a safe way to reach out for support. Together, we are creating a culture that’s smart about mental health.

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By joining us, walkers help us to provide support to the many people affected by suicide. In the Survivor Outreach Program, for example, those who have lost a loved one to suicide can receive a visit from a trained volunteer who is also a suicide loss survivor. This way, someone who is further along in their healing journey can share their wisdom about what helped them after their loss. Our annual Survivor Day events reach more families affected by suicide each year.

The funds also enable AFSP advocates in Washington to do their work of fighting to pass legislation that will save lives. Many states now have better mental health programs and mandatory suicide prevention training for teachers. This is real and lasting change.

By joining us in Myers Park Saturday, the walkers sent the message that mental health is as real as physical health, and that reaching out for help is the strong thing to do. The walkers showed others that suicide, which is currently the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, can no longer be swept under the rug.

As a community, we know we have much to do, as we lose close to 45,000 lives to suicide every year in our country. While we are saddened by these deaths, we also see them as a call to action for our nation to do more to prevent suicide. Our annual walks help us continue to fight for a day when no one will die by suicide. By walking with us, you honor the memory of the loved ones we’ve lost.

—By Crystal Howser

Crystal Howser is the co-chair of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Greater Ithaca Walk

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Photo credits: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention & Friends

Click here for more information about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Central New York chapter

Click here to add your donation to the Out of the Darkness Walk

[If you or someone you know feels the need to speak with a mental health professional, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.]

Ready? It’s Time for Ithaca’s 4th Annual Cupcake Contest!

Tasty cakes. Delicious frostings. Creative toppings. We can’t wait to see what cupcake delights our amateur bakers have in store for us again this year. The 4th Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest will take place in the Commons on Saturday October 19.

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Contestants of all ages are invited and will be eligible for dozens of prizes including a Grand Prize valued at $250. (Open to amateur bakers only.)

Attention Teens and Pre-Teens: A $100 gift certificate redeemable at dozens of downtown Ithaca shops will be presented with this year’s Special Youth Award!

The contest is organized by The Sophie Fund, which was established in 2016 in memory of Cornell University art student Sophie Hack MacLeod to support mental health initiatives aiding young people.

The 4th Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest is sponsored by GreenStar Natural Foods Market, Alternatives Federal Credit Union, and Cayuga Medical Center.

To enter the cupcake contest, contestants are asked to bring their submissions to the Bernie Milton Pavilion in the Ithaca Commons from 10–11:30 a.m. on Saturday October 19. The winners will be announced and prizes awarded at a ceremony at the Pavilion later the same day at 3 p.m. There will be musical acts throughout the day!

Sophie’s passion for baking cupcakes inspired the launch of the contest in 2016. At the time of her death by suicide at age 23, while on a medical leave of absence from Cornell, Sophie was active in Ithaca’s vibrant culinary scene. According to her family, she hoped to open her own bakery after completing her Cornell degree.

In conjunction with the contest, The Sophie Fund is again organizing a “Cupcake Button” fundraising campaign, with monies donated this year to the Advocacy Center of Tompkins County, which fights sexual assault and domestic violence.

Click here for all the information on contest procedures and rules, and to download a registration form.