2020 Vashon Suicide Prevention Campaign
9/2/2020 2:21 PM
The Double Disaster: When the pandemic struck, it quickly became clear that our island community faced two emergencies. First, there was the need to fight the disease, help people understand how to keep themselves and their families safe. Second, our community was being hit by a devastating economic and emotional disaster.
Islanders at Emotional Risk: At peak, a quarter of all Vashon workers had applied for unemployment benefits. A Chamber of Commerce survey showed that 40% of our businesses went dark. Schools sent kids home. Hundreds of families are worrying about getting enough food, keeping a home, and making choices between safety and essential work paychecks. Isolated seniors are descending into loneliness and depression. Island social service agencies are seeing increased substance abuse and household violence.
Our Suicide Prevention Campaign: To help address these risks, the Vashon Community Care Team has built a Vashon suicide prevention campaign with two simultaneous tracks. We will raise public awareness and understanding. At the same time, we will support the work of mental health providers and social service agencies by offering advanced training, helping them be a vital safety net for those seeking help.
· In the next few weeks you will see major community visibility as we promote our anchor event, “Tales from the Edge: Suicide Survivors Share Their Stories.”
· On September 10th, live from Vashon Center for the Arts, Susan McCabe will talk with suicide survivors in a live streaming event (poster attached). It’s not a fundraiser. It’s free.
· We are basing the campaign on the University of Washington L.E.A.R.N. program. Our community will learn how to recognize the signs, what to say, and how to help.
· Building on increased awareness, we will follow up on the launch event with intensive public education, including an all island postcard mailing with phone numbers to get help.
· At the same time, through special arrangement with the L.E.A.R.N. program, we will be offering — at no charge —online courses for practitioners, partner staff and volunteers, as well as people likely to encounter those in need (e.g., physical therapists, hair cutters, etc.)
What Partners Do: We ask partner groups to join this effort. Clearly, there’s a strong linkage between the full range of mental health issues and suicide. Going after one, will go after all of them. Here’s what we ask from partners.
· Allow us the use of your organization’s name and logo to show you are a partner.
· Join us by publicizing our campaign through your own social media, push email and website channels — especially our impending campaign launch event.
· Be available for news releases and other communications to share perspectives on the importance of suicide awareness and prevention.
· Encourage your team to be part of this community wide effort by distributing our L.E.A.R.N. postcards and by taking the free training.
A project of Vashon’s Community Care Team, a unit of the Vashon Medical Reserve Corps