NEBRASKA CITY – Sandy Morrissey, prevention director at Region V Systems, reminded Otoe County commissioners last month that suicide is Nebraska’s most preventable cause of death.
She said Nebraska received a federal Garrett Lee Smith grant because of risk assessments. Although the state is ranked 43rd in the nation with its overall suicide rate, it is in the top 10 for youth suicide.
She said Region V’s goals include QPR training, that stresses bringing up the question of suicidal thoughts, persuading people to seek help and referring them to resources.
Morrissey: “We get great feedback. Lots of people concerned in regards to the suicide rate. Other strategies include signage and mental health first aid. We really work on trying to get community to have a better understanding, increase their knowledge and reduce stigma when it comes to suicide.”
Days after the QPR suicide prevention training was held at the campus of Peru State College in October, the campus was dealing with the suicide death of a student.
Morrissey said suicide is a very impulsive act, so part of the strategy is to get people thinking about their actions.
Morrissey: “If we can stop it by them having a hotline number in front of them, their mind can change with under 100 seconds, you know, it’s that impulsive. And then we’re concerned when someone is under the influence of chemicals and they act out of desperation.”
Federal grant funds in the area include $6,955 to the Johnson County Coalition,$6,955 Nemaha Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse and $8,025 to Otoe County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition.
The Region V Youth Action Board members include Alex Flynn, Anatasia Popham and Courtney Rumbaugh in Richardson County.