On World Suicide Prevention Awareness Day, Olmsted County shares its acceptance into the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention Strategic Planning Cohort.
The cohort is a one-year commitment consisting of monthly learning sessions, activities, and planning documents. The planning documents developed over the course of the cohort include a community assessment, logic model, action plan, and evaluation plan.
“Olmsted County identified mental health in its 2021-2023 Olmsted County Community Health Improvement Plan as one of three priorities in the Community Health Needs Assessment. Participating in this cohort provides the community with additional educational resources and structure to continue building these ongoing conversations locally and to implement strategic goals,” Olmsted County Public Health Services (OCPHS) Community Health Specialist Talor Gray said.
The goal of the cohort is to support both training and technical assistance to address mental health promotion and suicide prevention using a collaborative approach with community partners that ensures every person receives the same level of care. It helps to fulfill the following goals of the Minnesota State Suicide Prevention Plan.
- Support healthy and empowered individuals, families, and communities to increase protection from suicide risk.
- Coordinate the implementation of effective programs by clinical and community preventive service providers to promote wellness, build resilience, and prevent suicidal behaviors.
- Increase the timeliness and usefulness of data systems relevant to suicide prevention and improve the ability to collect, analyze, and use this information for action.
Throughout the cohort, participants will gain skills to facilitate a data driven strategic planning process and develop a comprehensive plan to prioritize prevention efforts that will achieve the maximum impact. Participants will also be able to identify specific problems and populations of focus for prevention efforts and identify key strategies to address identified areas of need.
“Olmsted County strives to take action to prevent suicide in the community. Joining the strategic planning cohort is a great tool to develop a plan on local prevention efforts,” Olmsted County Commission Chair Stephanie Podulke said.
Based on preliminary data, death certificates show 723 Minnesota residents died by suicide in 2020. This represents the sixth year in a row in which over 700 Minnesotans died by suicide.
“While we start work with the planning cohort, Olmsted County encourages the public to observe World Suicide Prevention Awareness Day on September 10. Take a moment to connect and reach out to someone who may need help. A simple phone call, text message, or hug can go a long way toward helping someone realize suicide is not the answer,” Gray continued.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or use the Crisis Text Line by texting MN to 741741. People can also access qualified counselors provided by Crisis Response of Southeast Minnesota.