Centerstone’s Crisis Care Services Expands Suicide Prevention Efforts

Centerstone, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit providers of community-based behavioral health and addiction services, has expanded its Crisis Care Services in Tennessee with two new, statewide suicide prevention grants totaling more than $5 million.

Aiming to lower suicide deaths, reduce suicide attempts and promote long-term engagement in mental health services among youth and working-age adults, the combined initiative is funded by grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), awarded to the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) in partnership with Centerstone, Centerstone Research Institute and Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network.

With these grant dollars, Centerstone has launched two enhanced follow-up tracks for Tennesseans at high risk of attempting suicide. SAMHSA data shows emergency room (ER) visits related to suicide attempts are increasing, while the number of ERs around the U.S. has decreased “at an alarming rate,” according to Journal of the American Medical Association. The result often can be the discharge of suicide attempt survivors who haven’t been connected appropriately to follow-up care due to ER overcrowding.

“Survivors of suicide attempts are at their highest risk following discharge, and up to 70 percent of survivors never attend their first follow-up counseling appointment,” said Jennifer Armstrong, director of Crisis Care Services at Centerstone. “With our new enhanced services, we’re increasing our reach, partnering with local hospitals and taking an in-depth approach to outreach and follow-up support that reduces relapse, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Our goal is to support our clients until we’re confident they are safely supported beyond our care.”

CONNECT is a five-year suicide prevention effort expected to serve at least 6,000 youth and young adults ages 10 to 24, and TARGET is a three-year grant program expected to serve over 3,500 working-age adults ages 25 to 64.

Facets of both plans being implemented by Centerstone’s dedicated team of experts include face-to-face and telephone follow-up communication. A notable extra feature of TARGET is a technology package for enrollees that incorporates use of iPhones and Fitbits to encourage communication and to help track activities and health habits. Centerstone Research Institute is taking the lead on data collection and analysis for both grants with the goal of developing shareable best practices that will help save lives.

At pilot locations, early results of these new grant services are showing great success. To date, a higher number of clients have been linked to follow-up care, and no subsequent suicide attempts have been reported. The list of statewide partnerships, in various stages of program implementation, continues to grow as Centerstone conducts consultation with select emergency departments, inpatient psychiatric facilities and primary care physicians, assisting in standardizing suicide care, including referral of high risk patients to appropriate services.

Centerstone is widely known for its Crisis Call Center and pioneering suicide prevention efforts and has been recognized by major U.S. publications as well as The White House. Leaders at the organization have been instrumental in supporting the National Action Alliance’s Zero Suicide in Health and Behavioral Health Care initiative, implementing effective suicide prevention protocols throughout Tennessee and championing the cause at events in Washington, D.C., Vancouver, Canada, and Oxford, England.

To access Centerstone’s Crisis Care Services, call 800-681-7444. Experts are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.