The Air Force Model was the gold standard for effective suicide prevention, intervention and aftercare. It showed us that one activity would create little change, and to impact this crisis would require: multiple strategies implemented simultaneously and sustained; using a top down and bottom up strategy. Beginning with a public health community based approach and blending it with a mental health approach has allowed us to make headway with this crisis from many perspectives.
Highlights of what has been accomplished through collaboration with SPAN-GA and the Suicide Prevention Program:
Building Suicide Prevention Coalitions on a local/county/community level bringing awareness, education, resources, support and trainings out into communities across Georgia.
Supporting Intervention and Postvention programs coming into schools to give them a model for building teams within the school and community to assist in responding appropriately at the moment of a crisis.
Created a recommendation that resulted in bringing programming to Georgia schools for implementing Suicide Prevention, Help Seeking and Resiliency Building programs for middle, high schools and colleges throughout the state.
Assisted in the development of the strongest version of the Jason Flatt Act, school suicide prevention legislation, and creating political will to pass HB 198 - the Jason Flatt Act Georgia requiring teachers to have suicide prevention training annually, and schools to develop suicide prevention, intervention and aftercare protocols.
Responding to requests for support from local communities when suicide crises and clusters have emerged.
Assisted in hosting, organizing and executing three Statewide Stakeholders Conferences with the last one having more than 400 attendees from all over the state with representation from a broad variety of participants including professionals, survivors, military, aging, faith, LBGT, Hispanic, Asian, veterans, and more. This was a three-day conference with multiple tracks designed to meet the needs of all participants.
Assisted in hosting, organizing and executing five Statewide College Conferences to introduce programs and resources, and guide colleges in building teams or task forces to do prevention, intervention and aftercare work on campus to meet the needs of this high risk population.
Training, assisting and providing ongoing support for peers and professionals in leading Survivors of Suicide Support Groups. We have grown from 9 groups to 28 groups in Georgia with many more in progress.
As an extension of our Adult Support Group work, we have developed and been able to offer families that have lost a loved one to suicide – an annual family grief support camp - Camp SOS. May 8, 9, 10, 2015 will be the fourth year for Camp SOS.
Developed, printed and ongoing distribution of over 25,000 Healing Resources “Purple Packets” which deliver comfort and resource information to survivors of a suicide loss statewide, using the coalitions and support groups around the state as a part of the mass distribution system to funeral directors, hospitals, patients advocates, victims advocates, first responders, and faith community among others, we have distributed thousands of packets to support survivors who themselves have an up to 5 times higher risk of suicide.
While successfully executing the development of SOS Groups for adults, we were constantly asked, “but what about our kids”. So we have developed a Georgia Model for SOS Groups for Families, Children & Teens, The Starfish Program. Two versions of this program were developed, one community based and one school based with other applications in the works.
Providing training for professionals and those who work closely with families that have lost loved ones to suicide – improving and increasing community resources for survivor families.
Built, maintain and grow a statewide suicide prevention information network, www.GSPIN.org with a Broadcast Network to connect all stakeholders: survivors, coalitions, colleges, the prevention community and others to all of the efforts, activities and trainings opportunities around the state.
Partnering with NAMI GA to train First Responders in Crisis Intervention Team Training arming officers and EMS with skills to work with suicide attempters and survivors of suicide loss.
Broadly training hundreds of community members, professionals, teachers, parents, pastors and any interested citizens in gatekeeper programs.
Hosted and/or supported conferences for the Aging Population, Military, Veterans, Youth, and others.
Build the traveling Faces of Suicide Memory Quilts, creating access to groups statewide to display them at their events. Also, build quilts for community coalitions and organizations around the state so that they can create awareness throughout the year. These quilts are then owned by those communities and organizations.
Among many other statewide activities, support and advocacy.
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