Austin Grief has been working in partnership with Integral Care, as a member of the Suicide Prevention Coalition. Austin Grief has also worked with various Austin area schools to help educate teachers, students, and staff on ways to recognize warning signs for suicidal behavior. We, at Austin Grief believe it is important to collaborate with community leaders to address the mental health crisis in Austin. Sadly we have been a resource, too many times, after students have acted on self-harm plans.
The Austin/Central Texas Suicide Prevention Coalition is a group of public and private agencies that aim to support suicide prevention efforts with partnering organizations, educate and advocate for best practices in suicide prevention, and serve as a resource to the community.
Membership includes representation from behavioral healthcare, hospitals, health departments, military, VA, school districts, colleges and universities, law enforcement, first responders, survivor and advocacy groups, faith communities, and numerous nonprofit agencies throughout the region. The Coalition’s 2017 strategic plan focuses on implementation of the best practice guidelines outlined in the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.
Most recently, I attended a community forum specifically targeting youth suicide prevention. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24. (2016 CDC WISQARS). With 275 people in attendance, this is an important issue for the community, and mental health providers are looking for a meaningful way to intervene and provide support to our children.
Panelists covered vulnerable populations including LGBTQ+, Hispanic youth, and relevant research. It was clear to me that our community must work collaboratively the spectrum from students to administrators in the school system to effect change. Students tend to initially share mental health symptoms with peers, and we need to prepare our students on what to do and how to respond if suicidal ideations are shared with them. This means that teachers, staff, and parents need to be educating their students on what to do if a they or a friend are having thoughts of self-harm.
For more information and a wealth of valuable resources and support, please visit http://integralcare.org/en/coalition .