Press Release

IU Health Foundation receives $1.98 million grant to enhance Zero Suicide initiative

May 03, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS — IU Health Foundation has helped to secure a 5-year, $1.98 million grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for IU Health to implement Zero Suicide, an initiative to enhance support services across the IU Health system for patients experiencing or at risk of suicidal behaviors and ideations.

Led by the IU Health Behavioral Health Collaborative and Virtual Behavioral Health Hub, Zero Suicide aims to strengthen and standardize IU Health’s suicide screening processes within emergency departments, including updating a suicide prevention toolkit and streamlining suicide screening processes. The program will also fund Caring Contacts, a text-messaging service that provides discharged patients with encouraging messages and follow-up communication.

Zero Suicide will also support development of a Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS) therapeutic model. CAMS helps licensed therapists and emergency room physicians collaborate on a safety plan for discharged patients if suicidal ideations reappear. CAMS therapists can “bridge” behavioral health services with six to eight weekly therapy sessions until patients are able to access outpatient, long-term behavioral health services.

“The SAMHSA Zero Suicide grant supports IU Health’s commitment to reducing suicides in Indiana,” says Medical Director of the IU Health Virtual Behavioral Health Hub Anne Gilbert, MD. “This grant is going to help us train our team members to more effectively screen for suicide risk in patients and treat suicidal behaviors with evidenced-based interventions, helping individuals transition through the system of care along the way.”

The grant comes at a critical time, as feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety remain high, especially among young adults. In 2020, suicide claimed the lives of 44,000 Americans, with an additional 1.4 million attempting suicide. In Indiana, more than 1,000 Hoosiers lose their lives to suicide each year.

“Death by suicide is the second leading cause of death for Indiana residents — and it’s been on the rise for a decade,” says IU Health Foundation President Crystal Hinson Miller. “It’s a crisis that can be better addressed with philanthropy and more dedicated funding. Thanks to this grant, IU Health can move our state closer to the goal of zero suicides.”

Work to implement the grant started promptly in April — just in time for National Mental Health Month which is observed annually in May.

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