working with patients to make safety plans that can then be communicated to trusted friends and family; supporting people as they deal with the issues and challenges in their lives, not just attempting to “fix” depression or mental illness; and following up to see how someone’s doing, even after a suicidal crisis has passed.
According to Zero Suicide, one health care organization found a 75 percent reduction in the suicide rate after implementing these methods. Another saw a reduction in suicide deaths from 35 per 100,000 patients to 13 per 100,000 patients after implementing Zero Suicide for three years.
Similarly, peer-run respite centers can also play a role in suicide prevention, giving people a space to go when they’re struggling with suicidal thoughts. According to Zero Suicide, respite care has shown to have better outcomes than acute psychiatric hospitalization.
Mental health treatment can be part of that solution, but it can’t be the only thing we turn to when people are in need. When people do turn to the mental health system for help during a crisis, they need more options. They need a more tangible form of hope.