How Broward Suicide Prevention Coalition is Confronting Local Mental Health Crisis
Stakeholders in Broward County have come together to confront, head on, the mental health crisis in our community.
The Broward Suicide Prevention Coalition was formed by United Way of Broward County with the support of Broward Behavioral Health Coalition, Children's Services Council of Broward, Broward County Public Schools, Broward Sheriff's Office and Broward County along with more than 50 organizations and individual advocates.
The coalition has consulted with national experts from the American Association of Suicidology to identify and analyze county-wide data regarding suicide deaths and implement a strategic plan to eliminate suicides in our county.
The Broward Suicide Prevention Coalition is particularly focused on youth at risk of suicide, with a workgroup of volunteers devoted to suicide prevention in educational settings.
We know we can make a difference by providing suicide awareness and response training for all adults who work with youth. We will also make a difference by involving youth advocates in our work and in training peers.
As the Sun-sentinel so poignantly noted, many times a youth at risk of suicide is sharing this only with other youth. We have a responsibility in Florida to ensure youth and their trusted adults know what to do to help other youth at risk, online or in person.
We must prepare adults and youth to support people in a suicidal crisis, no matter when, where or how that is expressed. Even if a young person is not at risk of dying by suicide, suicidal pain is severe and can cause lifetime risk. Suicide is 100 percent preventable and we are committed to ensuring youth have a compassionate and trained community ready to help them.
The Broward Suicide Prevention Coalition also has a line of effort dedicated to better understanding and supporting the firearm-owning community and how they can play a role in suicide prevention.
Consultation with national experts has shown us that building partnerships with gun show owners is one of the most effective ways to spread awareness and improve firearm safety awareness and suicide prevention practices. Our coalition ha already started the hard work of building the collaborative relationships our community needs to change safety practices where we live.
Our Coalition intends to lead the nation in rapid-adoption of best suicide prevention practices, as well as participate in innovations to collect information about community suicide risk factors.
A review of the data in our county is clear and shows that suicide by firearm is the leading method of death by suicide. Suicide most often happens using firearms as a means, and firearm deaths are the most often suicides in our county and state. This is consistent with trends across the country, and the Broward Suicide Prevention Coalition intends to lead this change.
We have taken this on so that our community can respond to changes in suicide risks in the most timely and effective ways possible.
We know that suicide deaths are a national crisis. In Broward County, we have committed to radically tackling our own local crisis, and we welcome others in our community to join us.
For more information on how to get involved, please call 954.462.4850.