Mental Health

Broward’s United Way steps up efforts to prevent suicide

United Way of Broward County and more than 50 community partners have teamed together to adopt the Zero Suicide framework for suicide prevention in Broward County. By using this method created by The Zero Suicide Institute, it will provide expert consultation and guidance to health and behavioral health care organizations. Organizations adopting this framework will now gain crucial experience and tools needed to significantly reduce the suicide rates.

On September 10, 2020, The Broward Suicide Prevention Coalition, which is spearheaded by United Way of Broward County and supported by Broward Behavioral Health Coalition, organized a virtual educational training seminar on the Zero Suicide approach. During the seminar, the Coalition expressed the need for a system-wide movement in Broward County to more than 250 individuals in attendance.

There are more than 50 community partners participating as volunteers in the Coalition, including 211 Broward, Broward County, Broward County Public Schools, Broward Sheriff’s Office, Children’s Services Council of Broward County, Florida Department of Children and Families, Florida Initiative for Suicide Prevention, Henderson Behavioral Health and Memorial Healthcare Systems.

In 2019, 235 people in Broward County died by suicide. Adopting the Zero Suicide framework fills the gaps that patients at risk for suicide often fall through using evidence-based tools, systematic practices, training, and embedded workflows.

“Adopting the Zero Suicide approach county-wide will allow all Broward County agencies to have access to helpful resources, training, and support,” says Lois Simpson, M.S., Director of Suicide Prevention and Wellness Initiatives at United Way of Broward County. “We believe that suicide is preventable and suicidality is treatable. The Zero Suicide Broward initiative will encourage providers to identify areas of improvement for suicide prevention, intervention, treatment and post-vention services. This means that all Broward residents will have access to the highest level of care. Our goal is to reduce risks for suicide and bring the Broward County suicide rate down as close to zero as possible.”

Drew Limsky
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