The Arizona Department of Health Services/ Division of Behavioral Health Services and Magellan Health Services of Arizona have been selected as one of the national winners of the Council of State Governments (CSG) Innovations Awards. Together, ADHS and Magellan have changed the culture in the public sector behavioral health care workforce to tackle the silence and stigma of suicide.
“We work hard every day to save Arizona lives from public health threats,” said Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble. “Though suicide is not thought of as a health threat, and we don’t hear about on the news like meningitis or influenza, it is a state-wide priority. We are glad to be at the forefront of suicide prevention nationwide.”
“We are delighted to have partnered with ADHS to win this prestigious national competition,” David Covington, vice president, Adult & Youth Services for Magellan, said. “But moreover we are thrilled to have our suicide deterrence work in Arizona recognized as a best practice. We hope that other states will be able to utilize our experience and implement similar programs so that we may achieve a turning point in the suicide rate for individuals with mental illness nationwide.”
Arizona’s Programmatic Suicide Deterrent System launched in 2009 and has evolved from a training initiative for behavioral health professionals to a comprehensive national model addressing one of the most at-risk populations – individuals diagnosed with mental illness.
Since its inception, the initiative has trained more than 3,000 behavioral health care staff to recognize the signs and symptoms of suicide in persons with mental illness, and to help these individuals stay safe and seek help, as needed. The program has also addressed the issues of family engagement and support groups for suicide attempt survivors and has developed clinical tools and procedures for assessing risk and appropriately intervening.