September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. AHCCCS manages the COVID-19 Emergency Response Suicide Prevention (ERSP) grant which provides suicide screening and follow-up services in Pima County to those uninsured and underinsured with suicidal ideation who are 25 years of age and older.

This screening occurs primarily in emergency departments, psychiatric facilities, and through crisis line referrals. Through Arizona Complete Health (AzCH) and a contract with CODAC, CODAC Behavioral Health Technicians (BHTs) will screen individuals in emergency departments and inpatient psychiatric facilities for suicidal ideation and identify/screen those persons who may have been or are at risk of domestic violence.

This simple screening of individuals who are experiencing suicidal ideation can go a long way toward preventing suicide because it ensures that they receive appropriate care and support, as well as follow-up services to lessen the chances of a future suicide attempt. Additional preventative follow-up services offered through CODAC include 24/7 emotional support while stabilizing someone in crisis, help with coping skills, and increased connection to community resources or outpatient treatments.

Why is this work important?
Suicide is completely preventable. The deep wounds and traumas from suicide can scar families for generations, and the pain extends so much further than just the individual suffering from suicidal ideations. For these individuals, in the darkest moments, it can feel like there is no other way out. But there is support, and there is healing, and there are many people that care and want to help these individuals into a healthier and brighter future.

How can you get involved? As part of the grant, Community Bridges Inc. leads coordination and delivery of evidence-based training including ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and SafeTALK (Suicide Alertness for Everyone: Tell, Ask, Listen, and KeepSafe) to agencies in Pima County.

These courses have a preventative focus with the goal of preparing trainees to more adequately, respond to and support someone with suicidal ideations, and to prevent suicide. Courses like SafeTALK and ASIST are available throughout Arizona. Request training from the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) here