September 9, 2022

Raising Awareness: National Suicide Prevention Month

By: Dr. Philip Ofori-Yentumi, MSN, PMHNP; OH/KY Behavioral Health Consultant

Suicide continues to be one of the leading causes of death in America and around the world. There are many stressors that may contribute to increased suicidal thoughts and attempts. The recent COVID-19 pandemic led to financial stressors, physical and emotional isolation, and separated many from their normal support system. Despite the recent reduction in COVID-19 restrictions, people still struggle to return to “normal” and many are still having to deal with its lasting impact.

In 2020, there were 1.2 million suicide attempts in and 45,979 people died from suicide (1). We all need to join hands in creating awareness about behavioral health and the unacceptable suicide rates in our country. It is the responsibility of behavioral health providers, health advocates, other healthcare workers, organizations, survivors, and community members to come together to raise awareness and have honest conversations about behavioral health and suicide.

Lonely Senior looking out the window

The stigma and shame too often associated with behavioral health and suicide makes it difficult for some to express what they are going through. Therefore, it is important that we encourage frank conversation about it and provide a safe space for people going through challenging times.

Education on suicide prevention and behavioral health should be ongoing. However, National Suicide Prevention month provides us with the opportunity to come together to have honest conversations about behavioral health conditions and suicide. Let us take this opportunity to raise awareness, engage in dialogue, share resources and stories to fight the stigma.

How Landmark Can Help

Landmark has a dedicated team of physicians, nurses, care coordinators, advanced practice providers, and a core integrated team of behavioral health specialists that can provide treatment and support to Landmark patients. They can facilitate connections to additional behavioral health care and support services in the community.

The team provides important connections to Landmark patients who have experienced depression, isolation, loneliness, anxiety, and other psychiatric conditions including those that may be associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is a Landmark moment which highlights how our unique multi-disciplinary approach works.

Supporting Patients with Behavioral Health Concerns

Mrs. L* is a 61-year-old widow whose husband passed away during the pandemic. Prior to this, Mrs. L was diagnosed with depression and an alcohol use disorder. The passing of her husband led her to become more isolated, depressed, anxious, and suicidal.

After an unsuccessful suicide attempt, a referral was made to Landmark’s behavioral health team. The behavioral health consultant, Philip Ofori-Yentumi, MSN, PMHNP met with Mrs. L and after discussion, adjusted her medications.  He also referred her to the behavioral health care manager, Chelsea Hoffmaster, LCSW to assist Mrs. L in developing coping skills and creating a safety plan.  In addition to the added behavioral health supports, the nurse rare manager, Dena Egbert, RN planned regular check-in calls.

Mrs. L was educated on Landmark support that was available to her and community behavioral health crisis services and programs. Through these wrap-around supports, Mrs. L experienced a reduction in her behavioral health symptoms as evidenced by a change in screening scores for depression.

She also finalized a safety plan which she keeps a copy of in her home and in her car. Recognizing support extends beyond Landmark. Mrs. L’s family became more actively involved in her care, calling her each day for support. Mrs. L and her family are grateful for the care that she received from her Landmark team and her overall improved behavioral health during a very challenging time.