Project 100%

Purpose of this document

To outline a concept moving forward in our suicide prevention, intervention and postvention work that has the potential of getting us to Zero Suicides faster.

Rural Counties

Rural Oregon counties have reduced access to life saving services, ICU beds, a safe room, crisis response teams, lock boxes and legal systems for safe gun and medicine storage, drug and alcohol recovery programs, as well as the lack of adequate housing and food security. A combination of these factors have come together to cause suicide rates in Rural and Remote Oregon Counties to grow faster than in Urban and Suburban Counties.

It's more serious than it looks. Research shows that each suicide results in 135 people exposed (knew the person). The chance of knowing someone who has died by suicide in a small, rural county versus a large metro or suburban area, impacts that community at a much high level.

Project 100%

In the U.S. and Oregon, our eventual goal is Zero Suicides. In an effort to reverse the direction suicides are going in Rural Oregon, I propose starting the development of a variety of programs in an attempt to reach 100% of the citizens in the state at least once.

1. Direct mail program to all households, apartments and businesses coordinated with a messaging campaign like the one for CPR, encouraging all citizens to get trained to learn the signs and what to do. (The R U OK? Campaign.)

2. Building an R U OK? Community Culture: First introduced in Curry County on July 21, 2016 when I established a connection with the R U OK? campaign from Australia. I was granted permission to be an international partner, using their materials and ones I might create under very strict design guidelines set forth. Creating a number of toolkits, crisis wallet cards, and finally the R U OK? tri-fold brochure during the pandemic, it is currently in 190 retail locations in Curry and Del Norte Counties (1) , thanks to the support of AllCare and Advanced Health last winter.

3. Building an R U OK? Workplace Culture: An empathy program for the workplace to reduce turnover and improve performance by paying attention to the unique emotional needs of employees. Add a pocket handbook for small business owners and employees about how to ask R U OK? at work. Develop industry specific toolkits, i.e. first responders, public safety, construction, fishing, high tech, restaurant workers, power and cable line workers, and other industries that are prevalent in Oregon and have high suicide rates.

Develop a toolkit to encourage employees to set up an internal protocol to break the silence around talking about suicide and set up an awareness program to recognize when a staff member may need additional support, which will make the work place safer. Chances are one of your work family needs to talk. These would help employees notice a potential crisis before it requires the involvement of overtaxed behavioral, medical and public safety systems. Include offering CIT training for law enforcement certification, especially for road deputies responding to 988 calls.

4. Not-for-Profit Agencies. These agencies generally work with the underrepresented, marginalized population. Develop coordinated toolkits to address the need in the groups served by these agencies.

5. Meaningful Lifetime Mental/Physical Health Care. Study suicidality, and the impact drug overdose, alcohol, mental diagnosis, etc., has on people, make plans for the prevention of suicide in this sector, and develop a media campaign and materials to inform agency's and the public of resources and plans to break the stigma of talking about the impact of suicide on the county.

6. Behavioral Health Service for Boys and Men. Develop services that are discrete or anonymous, in non-therapeutic settings which help them overcome the stigma associated with therapy and seeking help as showing weakness. Hire more male mental health workers, social workers, school counselors, crisis line counselors and peer support specialists to fill an ongoing need for safe spaces for male clients. Reframe help seeking as masculine, strong and courageous.

7. All students in public, private schools, our Community College and those being home schooled. Age appropriate Toolkits around risks, warning signs, and projective factors starting in Pre-K, elementary, secondary, college and learning from home. A Guild for asking LGBTQIA2S+ students and adults R U OK? Include trainings in Youth Mental Health First Aid for youth, Youth QPR, SAVE, and other proven suicidality trainings for youth.

8. All school administrators, teachers and staff. Practical tools for coaches, cafeteria staff, bus drivers, custodians, and a staff room conversation guide. Include training in Youth Mental Health First Aid for adults. QPR for adults, and other proven suicidality trainings.

9. Father Involvement. Toolkit to increase "Father Involvement" (2), starting with Pediatricians, school health and sports programs and encourage schools to create volunteer opportunities to increase the involvement of men, and especially father's. Promote and teach masculine norms that are inclusive and enhance the health and safety of boys, men and communities by offering valid options to "toxic" masculinity with positive images of what it is to be a man. Test moving some PTA meetings to evenings.

10. Tribal Communities/Citizens. Connect with tribal Councils to encourage their elders to incorporate suicidality and resilience in their training of their youth. Work with elder guidance to create a specialized toolkit that can be passed on to the youth by tribal elders.

11. Seniors. Explore how we might support the OPAL program for isolated seniors.

12. Veterans. A program to make sure that 100% of our veterans and military service personnel are aware of the availability to all Veterans of behavioral health services, regardless of income level or service disability. Widespread distribution of the ACEs for Veterans tri-fold brochure.

13 Faith Based. Engage Faith Based leaders in their role in preventing suicide with a major emphasis on the 3rd Saturday/Sunday in May to celebrate Life, Hope, and Reasons to Live. Equip faith community leaders to minister to those impacted by suicide. (3)

14. Migrant Workers. Translate the current R U OK? tri-fold brochure into Spanish and make it available to appropriate community organizations, public school systems, and workforces that employ migrant employees, usually on a part time basis.

15. Gun clubs, retailers, shooting ranges, and gun owners. Widespread distribution of the "People who love guns love you" tri-fold brochure on supporting gun safety, trigger lock distribution, and establishment and mapping safe storage locations. Offer gun owners lethal means specific QPR and Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM).

16. Pet Shelters and Veterinarians. A Toolkit to train employees to be aware of people turning in their beloved pet to be taken care of and what steps to take and questions to ask in the acceptance process.

17. Motels. A Toolkit to train motel staff, especially front desk employees, to notice and address the special circumstances where people "often check in to kill themselves there." via overdose or to die by other suicidal means.

18. Barbershops and Hair/Nail Salons. Toolkit offering information, talking tips and resources on suicidality when one of their loyal clients expresses suicidal ideation. Offer QPR training for employees.

19. Research. Encourage the collection of more extensive suicidality data by the County Medical Examiner to include age, sex (MAAB/FAAB) and gender identity, race/ethnicity, and Urban, Suburban, Rural or Remote residence data.

20. Focus Groups. Used to identify the needs of specific marginalized groups in rural and remote areas.

"The closer we get to 100%, the closer we get to Zero Suicides."


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