Some additional contributing factors to the high suicide rate in Nevada and among older adults in Nevada may be related to rural location, gun ownership, lack of social support, social isolation, alcohol and drug use, and the gaming lifestyle, particularly quick money losses and problem gambling (Lawrence & Pace, 2017).
What Nevada Is Doing
Nevada has been working to build a Comprehensive Suicide Prevention Program since at least 1999, when the Nevada Legislature acknowledged the issue of suicide in Nevada and made prevention and access to mental health services for at risk individuals a priority through Senate Concurrent Resolution SCR11. In March 2005, ongoing efforts of lawmakers and others in Nevada culminated in the establishment of the Nevada coalition for Suicide on March 1, 2005. The primary goal of the Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention is “to fully support the State Suicide Prevention Coordinator and to serve as a collaborative resource for statewide suicide prevention programs and services.”
Cherylyn Rahr-Wood is the Zero Suicide Project Coordinator for the Office of Suicide Prevention (OSP) and the Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies (CASAT). During an interview with CASAT OnDemand staff, Ms. Rahr-Wood described the Zero Suicide (ZS) framework as “a system-wide, organizational commitment to safer suicide care in health and behavioral health care systems. The framework is based on the realization that people who have suicidal thoughts often fall through the cracks in a sometimes fragmented and distracted health care system. A systematic approach to quality improvement in these settings is both available and necessary. The ZERO Suicide website explains the tool kit to implement Zero Suicide into your health system. The ZS initiative is a continuous aspirational quality improvement framework for transforming suicide prevention in health and behavioral health care systems.”
Ms. Rahr-Wood highlighted another important resource in Nevada, Nevada’s Intervention Connection, an online training portal for all caregivers, whether trained professional or through their own life experiences. She explained that “This site helps people stay current and enhance your skills to be more capable, confident, and comfortable in Mental Health First Aid and suicide prevention. The NV Intervention Connection (NIC) is brought to the publicc through a partnership between the Nevada State Office of Suicide Prevention, Nevada Department of Education, Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention, and community coalitions across the state.”
Nevada 211 is a program of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. Nevada 211 is committed to helping Nevadans connect with the services they need. This program connects older adults to a multitude of resources including food, transportation, housing & shelter, rental assistance, mental health resources, adult protective services, licensed health facilities, addiction services, and more. In addition, the Nevada Care Connection Resource Center staff help connect older adults, and their caregivers with resources to meet their own individual needs by providing personalized assistance.
How Behavioral Health Providers, Friends And Families Can Help Prevention Suicide In Older Adults
So how can we all -behavioral health providers, friends, and families – help in Nevada’s suicide prevention efforts for older adults? Misty Vaughan Allen of the Nevada Office of Suicide Prevention suggests