This morning National Public Radio (NPR) aired a story on the Henry Ford Health System’s bold efforts to eliminate suicide among its 200,000 patients. In 2001, the health system embraced a philosophy and approach called “perfect depression care” that dramatically reduced the suicide rate among its patients.
Their “zero suicide” approach has since been implemented by other health systems across the country. A team of mental health care providers, suicide prevention experts and volunteers in the Fox Cities is striving to bring the approach to our entire community.
The collaborative team of nine attended the Zero Suicide Academy in Stevens Point in April to learn the approach. They were the only community-based team present; all others were from health care systems.
Members of the team, as pictured above, are (seated left to right) volunteer Kathleen Fuchs, volunteer Sue Jungen, Samaritan Wellness Screen director Sarah Bassing-Sutton, Samaritan executive director Rosangela Berbert, Community for Hope executive director Debbie Peters, (standing left to right) volunteer Linda Hupf, Prevent Suicide Fox Cities board president Mary Sullivan and Samaritan clinical director Ammie Ebben. (Not pictured is Samaritan therapist Doug Bisbee.)
The community’s efforts to embrace perfect depression care are coalesced through the Zero Suicide Initiative of the NEW Mental Health Connection. Grants are being sought to underwrite these efforts, meant to help make our community one of the mentally healthiest in the nation.