Arizona Suicide Prevention Trainer Says Direct Conversation Is Key

Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2019 - 12:46pm
Updated: Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 3:36pm
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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a new law that will require all school staff to be trained in suicide prevention training. But what does that training look like?

Heather Brown, prevention administrator for Mercy Care, a Medicaid health plan in Arizona, has been working in suicide prevention for about 20 years and running suicide prevention training sessions.

Brown has seen the conversation around suicide shift in that time. The key, she said, is all about making people comfortable enough to talk about it.

Suicide In Arizona

  • There were 50 youth sucidides in Arizona in 2017, a 32 percent increase from 2016, according to the Arizona Child Fatality Review Report.
  • Suicides accounted for 6 percent of all child deaths in 2017.
  • As of May 2019, Mercy Care has trained 15 schools and community-based organizations to deliver Youth Mental Health First Aid, 25 to deliver ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), and 32 to deliver safeTALK (Suicide Alertness for Everyone). 

Source: Mercy Care

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting 741741.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been modified to clarify Heather Brown's position.

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