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Friday, May 9, 2008

NASMHPD releases report highlighting vital role of crisis hotlines

Last week, the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) released a new technical report entitled Suicide Prevention Efforts for Individuals with Serious Mental Illness: Roles for the State Mental Health Authority. This report, which was a collaborative effort between NASMHPD’s Medical Directors Council and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), highlights the important role that crisis hotlines can play in preventing suicide and specifically recommends that public mental health systems support and collaborate with crisis hotlines.

The public mental health system should support and collaborate with crisis hotlines to ensure individuals at risk for suicide, including those who have made a suicide attempt, can readily access high quality crisis support services.

The emphasis given to the important work of hotlines would not have been possible without the strong partnership shared between the Lifeline and NASMHPD. The workgroup meeting for this groundbreaking report, which took place in January 2007, included several Lifeline representatives, including members from the Lifeline’s Steering Committee and two subcommittees. Additionally, NASMPHD and SPRC allowed Lifeline’s Project Director, Dr. John Draper, to present before the workgroup on the vital role that crisis centers play in saving lives. As a result, the report includes a description of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline as well as a discussion of the SAMHSA-sponsored hotline evaluation studies published in the June 2007 issue of Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior.

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