September is Suicide Prevention Month

In 2015, more than 1300 Arizonans died by suicide. Stakeholders in Arizona are coming together during the next few weeks to have more conversations about what can be done to prevent suicide. Events include:

 

The majority of those who died by suicide in Arizona, and nationally, are Caucasian males aged 65 and older. Guns and prescription drugs are the most common means. If you or someone you love is considering suicide, please call: 1-800-273-8255. Together, we can prevent suicide!

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AHCCCS Works With Phoenix VA to Prevent Suicide

In 2015, there were more than 1,300 deaths by suicide in Arizona. It is estimated 20 veterans die by suicide daily in the United States. To address this serious issue to Arizona’s public health, staff from AHCCCS – alongside many community stakeholders and Senator John McCain’s office – are working with staff from the Phoenix VA to prevent such deaths.

The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Act for American Veterans was passed by Congress in 2015. The legislation outlines federal efforts to better coordinate data and prevention efforts at VA hospitals nationally. The Phoenix VA was selected as a pilot project for the legislation.

AHCCCS staff members are working with the group to provide statewide data and information on successful prevention programs. More information on the 2016 State Plan to End Suicide can be found here, where veterans are highlighted as one of the six priority populations for suicide prevention in Arizona.

For more information about suicide prevention efforts at AHCCCS, contact: Kelli Donley kelli.donley@azahcccs.gov

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AHCCCS Leaders Participate in Housing Forum

On June 20th, leaders from AHCCCS, the Arizona Department of Housing, Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care and many community stakeholders came together at the Valley of the Sun United Way to discuss the intersection of housing and behavioral healthcare.

City leadership, healthcare executives and housing and service providers came together to discuss how chronically homeless Arizonans with behavioral health concerns can be housed. All agreed housing is healthcare; to live without stable housing makes all other health outcomes less successful. The conversation included discussion related to the 2015 closing of the men’s overflow shelter – an ancillary building that helped house homeless individuals at Central Arizona Shelter Service’s campus. The building was closed by Maricopa County officials in 2015 due to safety concerns. Some 300 individuals used the shelter daily.

It is estimated there are more than 2000 adult individuals who are homeless in Maricopa County. The wait list for housing at the Human Service Campus is more than 6,000 people who have accessed some homeless service in the last 90 days.

The leaders in the room discussed new strategies for sharing data, collaboration of services and partnership in housing chronically homeless individuals with behavioral health concerns. AHCCCS is committed as a partner in this process, spending more than $25 million annually on housing for Arizona’s vulnerable.

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