I subscribe to AFSP, American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, emails and I got one the other day on Project 2025. They have a goal of reducing suicide by twenty percent by 2025–a bold and ambitious goal given that suicide rates went up more than 30% in half of states in the U.S. since 1999.
They’ve earmarked four areas to focus on and since I do a lot with healthcare systems, I clicked on that and holy toledo my friend Dr. Lisa Horowitz was the star of the video. She and I are co-presenting with Jeff Bridge at the Pediatric Academic Society Conference and we’ve presented several times together. I immediately texted her about it and she didn’t know it was posted yet. It’s always a surprise to see someone you know when you are not expecting it. She is on the youth suicide prevention team at NIMH and has done a lot of research for the ASQ suicide screening tool for which I support and have been involved with for the last three years.
Our unified goal is to encourage pediatric physicians and emergency rooms to implement this 4-question screening tool in their pediatric practices to prevent suicide. A local doctor, Dr. Abernathy, was the first physician to implement the tool into his practice and I did a video of him and Dr. Keel a few years ago.
The AFSP 2025 goal is to focus these four areas to reduce suicide:
Project 2025 is collaborating with the country’s largest healthcare systems and accrediting organizations to accelerate the acceptance and adoption of risk identification and suicide prevention strategies we know work.
By identifying one out of every five at-risk people in large healthcare systems – such as during primary care and behavioral health visits – and providing them with short-term intervention and better follow-up care, we can expect an estimated 9,200 lives saved through 2025.
Basic screening and interventions can provide a safety net for at-risk patients seen in emergency departments.
Project 2025 is educating emergency medicine providers, and collaborating with key accrediting and professional organizations to improve the acceptance and adoption of suicide screening and preventative intervention as the standard in emergency care.
By screening one out of five people seen in ERs, and providing short-term interventions such as Safety Planning and follow-up care, we can expect an estimated 1,100 lives saved through 2025.
We need to change the culture of suicide prevention in our country’s jails and prisons.
By screening for and identifying 50% of at-risk individuals at key points within the corrections system, such as at times of entry and exit, and delivering comprehensive care that addresses both physical and mental health, we can expect an estimated 1,100 lives saved through 2025.
Sixty percent of all firearm deaths are suicides.
By working with key partners, we can educate the range, retail, and broader firearms-owning communities on how to spot suicide risk, and know what steps they can take to save lives.
If half the people who purchase firearms are exposed to suicide prevention education, we can expect an estimated 9,500 lives saved through 2025.
I am passionate about preventing youth suicide so I’m more plugged in with the healthcare systems and encouraging the use of the ASQ 4-question suicide screening that is an evidence-based tool for 10-24 year olds in medical practices and ERs.