Funds were appropriated by the Governor and the Georgia General Assembly to address the need for a prevention plan to address the serious problem of suicide in Georgia. The Georgia Suicide Prevention Plan was completed in 2001, by the Suicide Prevention Action Network (SPAN) with input from stakeholders around the state. The Plan contains a wide range of activities to promote suicide prevention including community awareness, education, implementing prevention programs such as screening youth in schools, making referrals for mental health services, parent and teacher gatekeeper training, promoting and supporting research and evaluation of suicide prevention.
The overall aims of the Plan are to:
- Prevent deaths due to suicide
- Reduce the occurrence of other self-harmful acts
- Reduce the suffering associated with suicidal behaviors and the traumatic impact of suicide on loved ones
- Provide opportunities and settings to enhance resilience, resourcefulness, respect, nonviolent conflict resolution and interconnectedness for individuals, families and communities
The Georgia Suicide Prevention Plan was developed through a contract between the Department of Human Resources and the Suicide Prevention Action Network (SPAN) with the guidance of the. It provides a framework for getting everyone involved in preventing suicide. The Plan is based on recommendations and information from the Surgeon General’s Call to Action and the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. It is designed to guide individuals, agencies, and organizations in local communities as well as at regional and state levels. The Plan encompasses suicide prevention in the many systems that touch people’s lives. These include education, health care, media, the workplace, faith communities and criminal justice.
The foundation of the Plan uses the public health approach for suicide prevention. The building blocks of the Plan are arranged as opportunities for Awareness, Intervention and Methodology (AIM) to improve suicide prevention. These major action steps are presented under eleven goals.
Action Step: Awareness
- Promote awareness that suicide is a serious public health problem and that many suicides are preventable
- Develop broad-based support of suicide prevention
- Develop and implement strategies to reduce the stigma associated with being a consumer of mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention services
Action Step: Intervention
- Develop and implement community based suicide prevention programs
- Promote efforts to reduce access to lethal means of self-harm
- Implement training for recognition of at-risk behavior and delivery of effective treatment
- Develop and promote effective professional practices and support services
- Improve access to and community linkages with mental health and substance abuse services
- Improve reporting and portrayals of suicidal behavior, mental illnesses and substance abuse in the entertainment and news media
Action Step: Methodology
- Promote and support research and evaluation on suicide prevention
- Improve and expand systems for data collection
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