'Zero Suicide' Program Working in Wyoming to End Suicide

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The nation-wide program, “Zero Suicide,” exists in hospitals and clinics in Casper.

News 13's Bobby Poitevint Thursday spoke to medical staff see how the program works and whether it is being affected by state funding cuts.

Suicide rates within our state remain high.

Doctor Darci Reed R.N. at Wyoming Medical Center told News 13, “In the month of October and November there were approximately 100 people that came through during those two months dealing with either suicide idealization and or attempt."

Casper hospital staff said patients of various ages confess thoughts of suicide.

Dr. David Martorano M.D, Psychologist at Wyoming Behavioral Institute shared, “Conservatively 20 people a week admit to this hospital primarily for either a suicide attempt or really severe struggle with suicidal idealization."

We've heard plenty of stories like these, but health organizations took steps to prevent this problem.

The Zero Suicide program is a key concept from the 2012 national strategy for suicide prevention.

"Zero Suicide really is a collaborative effort of different levels of communication between different providers in the community and making sure that everybody's educated in managing people who are struggling with suicide idealization, thinking about suicide."

One of the biggest keys to making Zero Suicide work is patient follow-ups.

"If they come in they're a high risk what can we do to make sure that we keep tabs and watch and make sure that their okay and that they are going to be safe and just following them through their treatment process,” said Bill Howell at Central Wyoming Counseling Center.

State legislators cut suicide prevention funding earlier this year.

Wyoming Behavioral Institute staff said the cuts impact prevention education, making people aware, but this shouldn't affect the services the health organizations provide.

Some said Zero Suicide works regardless of funding cuts, but the follow-ups make all the difference.

Kristin Sween, WBI Clinical Social Worker said, “The follow-up care the care transitions this stuff we were already doing but it has improved that in that it now has collaboration going on gets us all on the same page."

Staff doesn't believe suicides will completely disappear.

However they said managing preventable risks is an important part of helping.

Psychiatrists said having a, "support person," not only helps patients, but also helps the Zero Suicide program work.

A "support person" helps beyond clinics and assures their home is safe with harmful means removed.