This article is also available as a downloadable PDF file.
Laura Walker, RN, BSN, EMT, CFRN
Trauma Education and Outreach Injury Prevention Specialist
Covenant Healthcare – Saginaw, Michigan
Suicide. Say the word out loud. What feelings/thoughts do you get when you say the word? Anger, sadness, disbelief, hopelessness? Suicide rates in Michigan have been on a steady rise since 2014. It is the 2nd leading cause of death for people ages 10-24 years. In 2017, Michigan’s mortality rates exceeded the national average. COVID has not slowed down the rate or incidence of suicide attempts.
Public Health officials have recognized this as a major concern. In 2019 the Michigan Senate passed Bill 228 (Public Act 177 of 2019) which developed a commission on suicide prevention. The commission has been working with State departments, agencies, and non-profit organizations to identify causes and underlying factors. The group has four subcommittees: Policy, Data, Workforce and Special Populations. The commission is working to identify the most high-risk populations by looking at factors such as: Age, Race, Rural versus Urban, Occupation and Socioeconomic Status. Once identified, the commission will work on identifying ways to reduce the risk factors and compile a list of evidence-based programs for suicide prevention to help decrease suicide. They will also investigate postvention care, or what care and resources are needed after a suicide has occurred for the family and community.
What can you do to help prevent suicide? It starts with becoming more aware.
Did you know that death by suicide claims more people each year than war and murder combined? Take Five to Save a Life is a suicide prevention program from the National Council for Suicide Prevention.
Five simple actions can save a life:
(1) Learn the warning signs
(2) Know how to help
(3) Practice self-care
(4) Reach out for help
(5) Spread awareness
We can all make a difference! Please visit the Suicide Prevention Resource Center for more information.
Laura Walker, RN, BSN, EMT, CFRN is the Trauma Education and Outreach Injury Prevention Specialist at Covenant Healthcare in Saginaw, Michigan. She has been a nurse for 25 years with experience in the Emergency Department, Critical Care and Flight Nursing. Two and a half years ago she decided to expand her horizons and provide trauma education and injury prevention in the community. She enjoys working with community groups, forming new relationships, and bridging the gaps to make our community a safer place.