Suicide Prevention Initiative
Report to the People of St. Tammany
Remember: It’s okay to talk about it…. Call 2-1-1
In late 2010, St. Tammany Parish Government, with many non-profit partners including the United Way, Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans, via Link 2-1-1 and the St. Tammany Community Health Center, created a multi-tiered Suicide Prevention Support Initiative. The initiative was implemented in phases in 2011. From assisting law enforcement at the scene of mental health crisis situations to providing counseling and psychiatric care, the Initiative is working to reduce the unacceptable number of suicides and suicide attempts in St. Tammany Parish.
Parish government is funding two aspects of the program: the Crisis Response Program and reduced cost counseling and psychiatric care at the St. Tammany Community Health Center.
Crisis Response Program:
Upon a request from law enforcement, crisis response counselors deploy to the scene of a crisis, do an on-site assessment of individuals in crisis and make a recommendation about the appropriate action to be taken. Mental health professionals are available to provide support and referrals for family members. The mental health professionals ease the burden on first responders and help these responders return to their duties and expedite assistance to citizens.
The Crisis Response mental health professionals assist someone in crisis and his/her family by providing intervention, information, counseling, support and referrals to facilitate recovery. In addition, mental health professionals follow-up with the family and provide after-care case management services, as needed. This approach ensures that individuals and families get the services needed to address the immediate crisis as well as strengthen other factors that lead to the stabilization of the individual and the family. This program is funded by St. Tammany Parish Public Health and implemented by the Volunteers of America.
From August 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011, law enforcement activated the Crisis Response Team 143 times. From January 1, 2012 through March 31, 2012, the team was activated 144 times.
The individuals in crisis are about equally split between males and females and their race/ethnicity is primarily Caucasian, consistent with St. Tammany’s demographics. In the 36 to 45 year age range, law enforcement activated the Crisis Response Team 55 times. The second highest age range for activation was under the age of 18 with 52 activations. The activations took part in every area of St. Tammany Parish.
2010 – 39 2011 – 33 2012 (to March 26) – 11
The age range of completed suicides in 2012 is from 19 to 76, with a median age of 52. Of this number nine were men and nine were Caucasian.
Suicide Attempts (in unincorporated St. Tammany only):
2010 – 484 2011 – 543 2012 (to March 26) - 127
It is still too early in the initiative to draw conclusions about the program’s effectiveness but there are encouraging signs in the number of individuals and families who are receiving help that was not readily available until mid-way through 2011. There have also been some changes in how completed suicides are reported, making year to year comparisons not definitive.
St. Tammany Community Health Center:
Crisis Response mental health professionals make referrals as appropriate to several agencies including the St. Tammany Community Health Center. The Center has two Licensed Clinic Social Workers and a part time Psychiatrist on staff to work in partnership with the Crisis Response Team. St. Tammany Parish has entered into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the Community Health Center to provide these services.
From May 26, 2011 to December 31, 2011, the Community Health Center provided 807 behavioral health patient visits at reduced or no cost. From January 1, 2012 to March 26, 2012, the center provided 648 behavior health visits.
Counseling sessions, support groups and support training are provided by the St. Tammany Outreach for the Prevention of Suicide (STOPS), and the National Alliance on Mental Illness – St. Tammany.
Donations are needed to continue providing these services in St. Tammany Parish. All donations should be directed to the United Way of Greater New Orleans and designated for the St. Tammany Suicide Prevention Initiative.