Jeremyah Walk to Raise Funds for Survivors of Suicide

All are invited to participate in the 13th annual Jeremyah Memorial 5k Walk/Run on 9:30 a.m., Saturday, February 9th  at Kiwanis Park in Tempe. Walkers gather prior at the Ruben Romero Corporate Ramada at 8 a.m.

The annual event is organized by EMPACT-Suicide Prevention Center. All funding raised from the event will be used to support local survivors of suicide programming, including support groups and loss response teams.

AHCCCS works closely with EMPACT-Suicide Prevention Center to reduce the suicides in Arizona. Officials from EMPACT and other behavioral health providers, including community stakeholders, are invited to participate in a conversation regarding the 2019 State Plan to End Suicide. For more information about the meeting, email:

For more information about the walk, visit:


Worried About Suicide? ACT

Worried about suicide? ACT.During the winter holidays, it is common to spend time with friends and family you may not otherwise see often. During the holiday party or family meal, you may notice someone isn’t acting like himself or herself. If you notice a friend or family member who is: abusing substances, sleeping abnormally–either too much or too little, or, not participating socially as is his/her norm, have a frank conversation.

Remember to ACT: Ask, Care, Treat

A: Ask directly, “How are you feeling?” And if you are concerned ask, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?”

C: Care. Listen to what the person has to say without interrupting or trying to nullify their feelings.

T: Treat. Get the person help.

The ACT model is used by the US Navy as a reminder for how to reach out to those who may be struggling and unsure of how to ask for help. If the person you are concerned about has a plan to die by suicide, do not leave him/her alone. If necessary, call 9-1-1 or the crisis line for help. It is important this person receive immediate care.

Find the Arizona crisis line listed on the  AHCCCS Crisis web page or below:

In Maricopa County (served by Mercy Care): 1-800-631-1314 or 602-222-9444

Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Yuma Counties (served by Arizona Complete Health – Complete Care Plan): 1-866-495-6735

Apache, Coconino, Gila, Mohave, Navajo and Yavapai Counties (served by Steward Health Choice Arizona): 1-877-756-4090

Gila River and Ak-Chin Indian Communities (served by EMPACT): 1-800-259-3449

Having the courage to ask how a person is feeling emotionally, and then truly listening to the response, can save lives. Help is available 24 hours a day at the National Suicide Prevention line by calling  1-800-273-TALK.

If you have questions about suicide prevention resources in Arizona, or are interested in becoming involved in this work statewide, contact the Suicide Prevention Specialist at



OIFA Bureau Chief Kathy Bashor Announces Retirement

Kathy Bashor
Photo: Kathy Bashor, Bureau Chief, AHCCCS Office of Individual and Family Affairs

Kathy Bashor, Bureau Chief of the AHCCCS Office of Individual and Family Affairs (OIFA), recently announced her retirement. Since joining AHCCCS in 2016 when the Division of Behavioral Health Services moved to AHCCCS from the Arizona Department of Health Services, Kathy has made a lasting impact on members and employees alike.

“Kathy has been a tireless advocate to ensure that the voice of AHCCCS members and families are front and center in all our decisions,” said Director Tom Betlach. “I have personally benefited from the patience, determination, and knowledge that she has shared with me over the years. Kathy has been instrumental in our efforts to improve services for AHCCCS members and she will be missed.”

As an advocate and leader in the field of Peer and Family Support, she was instrumental in advancing a peer credentialing program that has now generated more certified peer support specialists per 100,000 residents than any other state in the nation. Numerous awards and accolades demonstrate the depth of her commitment. In 2018, she received the Max Dine Advocacy Award from David’s Hope for outstanding leadership in mental health criminal justice. She also received the 2017 ASU Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy Leadership in Advocacy award for her sustained contributions to the accessibility, availability and effectiveness of behavioral health services in Arizona.

“Kathy has been a tireless advocate to ensure that the voice of AHCCCS members and families are front and center in all our decisions.”

Dana Hearn, assistant director of the Division of Health Care Advocacy and Advancement, has worked with Kathy for almost eight years. “Kathy has such a presence about her that those around her are immediately filled with zest and a force of your own just by being around her. And to be in her presence is to adore her.  Good days and bad, Kathy brings the utmost sincerity and passion for all that she does.  She is an advocate through and through and one of the best humans I have ever known,” Hearn said.

As Kathy generously shared her story of lived experience and her expertise, AHCCCS employees benefited. Through a partnership with PSA Art Awakenings, Kathy organized an art display at the Phoenix campus as a way to start dialog with colleagues about the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Every year, she has encouraged employees to join “The Soul of AHCCCS” walk team in support of NAMI, the American Foundation for the Prevention of Suicide, and the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center. Along with OIFA staff, she generously volunteered time to formal and informal staff training. Everyone who had the pleasure of working alongside Kathy came away with greater understanding of mental illness, the stigma that surrounds it, access to treatment options and tools to support our communities.

AHCCCS is deeply grateful to Kathy for her service to members, families and our extended community.