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We can all help prevent suicide

September 30, 2019 | Mental Health

couple embracing

Suicide is a serious public health problem that impacts people, families and communities, including the workplace. While suicide rates have increased in nearly every state between 1999 and 2016, it is a cause of death that is also preventable.

At CVS Health, we understand that a commitment to holistic health includes supporting mental and emotional health and working to prevent suicide. That’s why Aetna works in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to advocate for suicide prevention through engagement, awareness and education. In observance of National Suicide Prevention Month, we’re highlighting some of Aetna’s initiatives to reduce suicide.

To start, Aetna Behavioral Health is endorsing updated screening tools which are easy to administer and more effective at reaching all populations.

“We believe there should be universal screening for everyone, not just high-risk individuals,” said Aimee Prange, senior strategic planner for Aetna Behavioral Health. “There are lots of individuals who may not demonstrate signs but are still thinking about suicide. If we ask questions, we can begin to create a safety net.”

Aetna is also integrating patient safety planning and proactive outreach to members days after a suicide attempt with messages of hope.

“We want to make sure members have a reason, and an avenue, to reach out to us to receive care management and other help,” said Prange.

We are also working to engage caregivers, family members and friends to help impact suicide prevention. Support systems can help members develop important life skills and encourage them to get treatment and stick with it. In addition, they can provide safety and support to avert a time of crisis.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.