Children’s Wisconsin has received a $100,000 grant to better identify and care for youth at risk for suicide. This grant is part of the second cohort of the Preventing Youth Suicide National Collaborative, a Cardinal Health Foundation National Collaborative, which is an initiative from Cardinal Health, Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) and the Zero Suicide Institute (ZSI) at the Education Development Center (EDC).
Amid a nationwide youth mental health crisis, the Preventing Youth Suicide National Collaborative is working to develop a pediatric-specific, data-driven approach that will enable participating children’s hospitals and health systems to better track, share, and implement best suicide prevention practices with each other. This program supports a system-wide transformation in suicide care at children’s hospitals and will help save children’s lives.
“We are honored to be part of this important national collaborative,” said Jenny Walczak, PSYD, director of Mental and Behavioral Health Integration at Children’s Wisconsin. “With this grant funding, we plan to hire an additional social worker who will specifically work to support our universal suicide screening efforts. That professional will also implement a new intervention called Caring Contacts.” Caring Contacts is a suicide prevention approach that involves sending brief messages expressing concern to patients who have been suicidal.
Children’s Wisconsin’s universal screening initiative
Mental health screening at appointments is crucial to identifying issues before they become a crisis. Depression screening has been integrated into standard practices at all Children’s Wisconsin primary care offices. All kids who screen positive are referred for follow-up care. A suicide screening tool is also in place in the Children’s Wisconsin Emergency Department. As part of its five-year plan for improving mental and behavioral health services, Children’s Wisconsin is implementing screening at every touchpoint where kids get care — from adoptive and foster care services, to school nursing programs to specialty clinics.
“Children’s hospitals and health systems work within their hospitals, outpatient clinics and emergency rooms, and in partnership with their communities to improve the health of children and youth — including their mental, emotional and behavioral health,” said Amy Wimpey Knight, president of CHA. “With some 30 pediatric health care organizations now focused on building stronger care systems to recognize, intervene and treat children and youth at risk of suicide through the Preventing Youth Suicide Collaborative, we will save lives. We are grateful to these hospitals, their community partners, and to Cardinal Health and the Zero Suicide Institute for their leadership and partnership with CHA. We are committed to sharing their work with children’s hospitals across the nation.”
The following children’s hospitals and health systems have been awarded grants:
To learn more about the collaborative, visit Preventing Youth Suicide National Collaborative (childrenshospitals.org).