Ohio has a vast network of suicide prevention coalitions representing counties across the state. These coalitions bring together key community members from areas essential to suicide prevention at the local level to provide planning, programming, and community-driven suicide prevention assessments and events. OSPF supports these coalitions by offering ongoing technical assistance, training opportunities, regular communication on issues related to suicide prevention, mini-grants, and annual suicide prevention summits.
Ohio is fortunate to have a strong network of suicide prevention coalitions and works with Local Outreach of Suicide Survivor (LOSS) Teams across the state. These coalitions and teams, which include survivors of suicide loss, behavioral health professionals, and other concerned community members, provide outreach, support activities, and crisis response services to those who lose a loved one to suicide. The Foundation supports Ohio’s suicide prevention coalitions and LOSS Teams by providing ongoing education and training, technical assistance, and opportunities for funding to ensure these indispensable services can be maintained and expanded.
Campaigns & Content
OSPF serves as a clearinghouse for messaging and materials for local suicide prevention campaigns. The Foundation provides schools, organizations and coalitions with pre-packaged campaigns and content they can use to help promote mental health and prevention. We also promote two annual suicide prevention campaigns – Mental Health Awareness Month (each May) and Suicide Prevention Awareness Month (in September) – to raise awareness and encourage understanding and support.
Services For At-Risk Populations
There are common challenges and stresses that people in every walk of life face. Unfortunately, those challenges put some groups at higher risk of suicide. The Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation provides resources, support, and training for people at risk and those who care about them so they can recognize warning signs, have helpful conversations, provide encouragement, and intervene if necessary.
There are a wealth of K-12 suicide prevention programs and resources available that schools can implement or use to expand upon their ongoing suicide prevention strategies. The Foundation provides educators with guided insight on the programs available and choosing one that’s best for their system.
HB 543 requires that Ohio K-12 school staffs receive education on suicide prevention. OSPF supports an online, self-paced, simulation-based program that helps educators recognize signs of distress in elementary, middle, and high school students and initiate supportive conversations. OSPF also offers CEU-eligible training programs for school mental health professionals on the proper identification, assessment and management of suicide risk, as well as effective safety planning and treatment for at-risk students.
For high school students who engage with the world through their phones, OSPF promotes a free mobile app that provides a peer-to-peer role-play simulation that allows them to practice having a challenging conversation with a friend who may be suffering from psychological stress.
Suicide Prevention Curriculum
For colleges and universities interested in strengthening undergraduate and graduate-level students’ understanding of suicide, the Foundation offers a semester-length suicide prevention class curriculum that can be inserted into a typical behavioral health class-rotation schedule. The curriculum was created by researchers from the University of Cincinnati and Old Dominion University and shares knowledge about suicide prevention and methods to assist behavioral health clinicians working with clients who have suicidal thoughts and ideations.
REACH OUT is a suicide prevention mobile app designed in partnership with OSPF by college students for college students. The app features key information on suicide warning signs, how to help oneself or a friend, and customizable resources for mental health and crisis intervention.
Suicide is an issue that impacts every sector of our communities. Ohio’s most recent data on violent deaths suggest that the age-adjusted suicide rate for males is four times that for females. However, women attempt suicide at twice the rate of men. A recent study also showed that increases in young African-American suicides are outpacing all other populations. That’s why we support awareness and empowerment initiatives that promote mental health and wellness for entire communities while also focusing on specific populations as specific needs suggests. Because suicide impacts everyone, and it takes a committed community to prevent them.
As many as 22 United States military veterans die each day by suicide. According to research by the National Center for Veteran Studies, the number one reason is intense emotional distress. OSPF works to equip and empower Ohio’s active-duty service members, veterans, their families, and those serving them with the knowledge to identify the warning signs of suicide, give them confidence to ask about thoughts of suicide, and encourage them to make referrals to mental health providers who understand military culture. That includes building relationships and raising awareness among military and military-serving organizations; educating health care providers, faith leaders, social service workers and others on working effectively with service members; offering Mental Health First Aid peer training; promoting phone-based gatekeeper training for soldiers and veterans; and supporting web-based wellness programming.