Maine CDC Press Release

September 19, 2018

Maine Strengthens Care for Those at Risk of Suicide

AUGUSTA - In honor of September's National Suicide Prevention Month, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) is releasing a new resource to help providers reduce the risk of suicide among people in their care. The Maine CDC has partnered with the Sweetser Training Institute to create the Suicide Safer Care Training Portal (sweetser.academy.reliaslearning.com) which brings together free, evidence-based online training in suicide risk screening, intervention, treatment, and support.

Support for Mainers at risk of suicide is critical. Since 1999, suicide death rates have increased in every state except Nevada, with suicide rates rising more than 30 percent in half the states. For Maine, suicide death rates increased by 27 percent from 1999 through 2016, and suicide is the second leading cause of death among Maine youth and adults ages 10-35. Research suggests doctors and counselors have a critical opportunity to intervene with those at risk, with 64 percent of people who attempt suicide visiting their doctor in the month before their attempt, and 38 percent in the week before.

"Screening and high-quality care for suicide risk should be as routine as screening and caring for high blood pressure," said Maine CDC Director, Dr. Bruce Bates. "People need to know that it's okay to say they're struggling, and they can get help for a potentially life-threatening condition."

Mainers can support these efforts to save lives by recognizing that suicide prevention is up to all of us. For National Suicide Prevention Month, the Maine CDC is supporting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's #BeThe1To campaign (www.bethe1to.com), encouraging individuals to recognize and intervene when someone they know may be at risk of suicide. "Asking someone if they are thinking about killing themselves doesn't increase their risk of attempting suicide," said Dr. Bates. "Knowing someone cares and can connect them to help may be the thing that saves a life."

If you are concerned about yourself or about somebody you know, please call the Maine Crisis Hotline: 1-888-568-1112