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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Zero Suicide Institute aims to expand access to SC suicide care, prevention

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Friday, May 3, 2024   

Studies show suicide is a serious public health problem, claiming more than 48,000 lives each year in the nation.

A new initiative from the Zero Suicide Institute aims to change it and demonstrate how a diverse group of hospitals in South Carolina and elsewhere can improve their suicide prevention practices.

Allyson Sipes, director of clinical initiatives at G. Werber Bryan Psychiatric Hospital in Columbia, said the Institute worked with her staff to develop best practices.

"The Zero Suicide Institute brought in a group of individuals that we could learn from," Sipes recounted. "Then having an expert faculty with a change package that we used to set our facility and what to look at and address."

Sipes explained the program was developed by the Pew Charitable Trusts to test evidence-informed methods to detect suicide risk and connect patients to treatment.

Nearly 27% of U.S. hospitals do not practice recommended suicide prevention practices, including safety planning, warm handoffs to outpatient care, patient follow-up and lethal-means counseling.

Laurin Jozlin, senior project associate for the institute, said studies show half the people who die by suicide saw a health care professional in the month before their death but were never referred to a mental health professional.

"We know that there's an opportunity in health and behavioral health care systems to intervene," Jozlin acknowledged. "They are being seen by health and behavioral health care professionals but they're often not identified as someone who is at risk of suicide."

Sara Voelker, improvement adviser for the Education Development Center, said they take ideas proven successful elsewhere and develop them into best practices.

"We put it together into a change package," Voelker noted. "Then teams pulled out ideas that had worked in other places and then, essentially, figured out a way of, 'How do I adapt this to make it work in my organization?'"

If you are struggling with mental health, help is available by calling or texting 988, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.


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