Goal 3: Alaskans Communicate, Cooperate, and Coordinate Suicide Prevention Efforts

Goal 3

 

If you've ever played on a soccer team, built a house, or tried to haul in a net heavy with fish, you know how important it is to work together to get the job done. Suicide prevention is like that. When we work together in our communities, schools, workplaces, and organizations, we maximize our talents and resources and have better outcomes preventing suicide. Whether you're part of an organization or communtiy group -- or you're looking to get involved in one -- there are many ways you can work together to end suicide.

 

What can you do?

 

Partner with community organizations to raise awareness about suicide.

You can share suicide prevention education and awareness information -- even if it's just the Careline number -- in any group or organization you are part of.  A great example is the "You Can Save A Life. No Experience Necessary" campaign developed by the Downtown Anchorage Rotary Club.  They designed TV ads and online resources, and encouraged Rotary Clubs statewide to dedicate club meetings to basic suicide prevention training, as part of a statewide effort.

Employers can offer a variety of tools to their employees to raise awareness and prevent suicide.  Mental health is part of overall health, so offering workplace health programs that expressly include mental and emotional health can help reduce stigma and raise awareness. Encouraging inclusive and accepting workplaces is another way you can help improve employees' mental health and resiliency. The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention has a whole suite of resources for employers who want to create "Hope at Work" to prevent suicide.

Faith organizations play a key role in community suicide prevention. Faith leaders are often contacted by congregants in crisis or their family members. They also, saldy, are often in the role of leading memorial services for people who died by suicide. You can encourage your community of faith to seek education and training on preventing suicide and comforting those who have lost of loved one to suicide.  Skills-based suicide intervention trainings can help prepare faith leaders to respond.  Congregations can also benefit from these sorts  of trainings. The Caring Clergy Project has a suicide prevention, intervention ,and respond video series for faith leaders.

Preparing to Heal, the Alaska Postvention Guide, has information that can help with planning memorials after a suicide. It is important to remember that family, friends and community members may be experiencing psychological burdens similar to those of the person who died by suicide, and those burdens can be even heavier after the loss. It can be difficult to determine who in a community may be feeling this extra burden during the grieving process, so it is important to be careful and compassionate in the support offered after a suicide., to prevent the risk of additional suicides.

 

Get involved in and/or develop wellness coalitions that include suicide prevention in their mission/area of focus.

There are regional suicide prevention teams, as well as local wellness coalitions, throughout Alaska. You can get involved with your local suicide prevention coalition, or you can add suicide prevention to the range of issues that your existing coalition address. To find out more about what coalitions are active in your area, contact Eric Morrison at 465-6518.

If your community doesn't have a wellness coalition, you can gather some of your friends and colleagues and start building one. The Suicide Prevention Resource Center provides a list of resources, as well as technical assistance, to communities developing suicide prevention coalitions. Visit these resources online. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a “how to” guide for coalition building. Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) offers a host of resources, publications, webinars, and trainings to help people create, grow, and maintain community coalitions. These resources focus on substance abuse prevention, but are very helpful.