Arizona recently launched a plan to address suicide rates in the state, an effort led by Dr. Cara Christ, Department of Health Services (ADHS) director and Department of Economic Security interim director.
Three main goals encompass the Suicide Prevention Action Plan. The state aims to collect data on suicide to identify the demographic groups most at risk, improve mental health, and ensure treatment and support services are available.
The state will work with insurance companies to ensure they cover mental health.
“It is heartbreaking for families, friends, and communities when someone dies from suicide and can have a lifelong impact,” Christ said. “This action plan calls for a whole community approach to prevent suicide. ADHS will continue to implement statewide strategies that decrease factors that put people at risk of suicide, increase protective factors that promote resilience and coping and ensure those who need help can access it.”
ADHS met last year with stakeholders to identify and develop strategies to create a supportive environment and engage communities.
Stakeholders included families and individuals impacted by suicide, healthcare providers, mental health professionals, schools, first responders, community partners, government agencies, and tribal nations.
Suicide rates in Arizona increased from 1,304 suicides in 2017 to 1,432 in 2018.