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Aiming for Zero: Providing Support to Children at Risk of Suicide

Aiming for zero suicides, MaineHealth improved its pediatric suicide prevention screening and more than doubled the volume of behavioral health consults to their children’s hospital units, connecting more youth to necessary treatment.

MaineHealth, which cares for patients in Maine and northern New Hampshire, was inspired by the Henry Ford Health System’s Zero Suicide program to reduce the number of suicides in their medical inpatient pediatric population by expanding their suicide prevention screening and then connecting at-risk patients with behavioral health services. They’re not alone in their efforts; the Zero Suicide program has spread nationally since its inception by HFHS in 2001 as healthcare organizations work to end suicide.

In the first six months after MaineHealth went live with the program at its Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, the expanded admission screening process led to a 132% increase in Psychiatry consults to inpatients, identifying an additional 35 children at risk of suicide and connecting them with the appropriate support.

How They Did It:

  • Adapted a suicide prevention screening tool for pediatrics
  • Trained nurses to screen and follow up with patients
  • Connected at-risk patients with behavioral health resources
  • Screened each pediatric patient for risk of suicide at admission

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