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SAMHSA's suicide prevention mobile app to help health care providers save lives
App features culturally appropriate suicide prevention resources for tribal communities
A new app created by the Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration can help health care
providers treat patients at risk of suicide.
A mobile app, Suicide Safe, created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to help health care providers treating patients at risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors is available at no cost through SAMHSA's website.
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and it is the second leading cause of death among people from age 10 to 44. For American Indians and Alaska Natives, suicide is 1.6 times higher than all other U.S. races.
"The prevention work we are doing to address the rising number of suicides in tribal communities, especially among our young people, will have a positive and lasting impact. We are looking forward to the contributions this mobile app will provide to IHS, tribal, and urban Indian health programs," said Robert McSwain, acting Indian Health Service director.
One of the downloadable tribal publications accessible from the app is To Live to See the Great Day That Dawns: Preventing Suicide by American Indian and Alaska Native Youth and Young Adults. This guide lays the groundwork for comprehensive prevention planning, with prevention broadly defined to include programs that a community can use to promote the mental health of its youth. The guide also covers actions communities can take in response to a suicide to help heal and thereby prevent related suicidal behaviors.
SAMHSA launched the app in March during the 10-year anniversary event celebrating the SAMHSA-sponsored National Suicide Prevention Lifeline that has answered nearly seven million calls since 2005. Leaders in suicide prevention came together in Washington, D.C., to commemorate a decade of progress in the field and to support SAMHSA's pioneering effort.
"Suicide devastates lives throughout all parts of our nation, but it is a public health issue that is preventable. SAMHSA is working to provide people on the front lines with resources they need to save lives," said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. "Suicide Safe is a major step forward in suicide prevention. The app gives behavioral and primary health care providers an essential and modern prevention tool at their fingertips to help address suicide risk with their patients."
Almost half of people who die by suicide have visited a primary care provider in the month prior to their death, and 20 percent have had contact with mental health services. Behavioral health and primary care settings provide unique opportunities for people at risk of suicide to access effective treatment. Yet, many behavioral and primary health care providers have never received training on how to assess and manage suicidal patients.
Suicide Safe can help bridge this gap by furnishing behavioral and primary health care providers tips on how to assess for suicidal risk, communicate effectively with patients and their families, determine appropriate next steps, and make referrals when needed.
SAMHSA's Suicide Safe app is available for download on Apple and Android mobile devices through http://store.samhsa.gov/apps/suicidesafe/ .