The Kim Foundation Newsletter: A supportive resource and compassionate voice for lives touched by mental illness.

2014 Grant Spotlight

Each year, The Kim Foundation awards grants to organizations that are carrying out innovative, sustainable mental health programming in our area. This year we will be spotlighting these organizations in our monthly
e-newsletter. We are proud to support these organizations, and applaud them for their vision and commitment to improving the lives of individuals impacted by mental illness.

Organization Name:
The Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition

Mission: To reduce the stigma associated with suicide along with raising awareness regarding the risk factors, warning signs, and ways to seek help; therefore preventing as many deaths due to suicide and mental illness as possible.

Funded Program Description: The Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition (NSSPC) is a voluntary group made up of committed and passionate people representing public and private agencies, suicide survivors, and Nebraskans interested in suicide prevention. The NSSPC was formed in 1999 with the guidance of Dr. Belau and Dr. Miers. The group began implementing suicide prevention efforts in conjunction with the Surgeon General’s call to action to prevent suicide. The purpose of the project is to develop local expertise in suicide prevention and act to provide information that ultimately instills hope and dramatically reduces the occurrences of suicides throughout the state.

The Nebraska Youth Prevention Project was established to provide helpful resources to parents and youth regarding suicide. There are many tips on the website pertaining to signs to watch for and information on preventative measures such as the benefits of restricting lethal means. LB923 was recently passed in Nebraska requiring all relevant school personnel to have at least one hour of evidenced-based suicide prevention training annually. It is critical that parents are able to identify important warning signs, but it is often school personnel that spend most of the day with our youth. Teachers and other school staff are more likely to notice changes in a student’s behavior. This training will help to identify what behaviors to look for and provide the necessary steps to take if there is a concern.

The Nebraska Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) Team is a support system for families after a death from suicide has occurred. The LOSS team is a group of volunteers that have experienced a loss from suicide along with trained mental health clinicians. The aftermath of suicide can be just as devastating as the suicide itself. The LOSS team is called out by law enforcement to meet with the family and provide much needed resources to help the family cope during this traumatic event. On average, loved ones usually wait three to four years to seek mental health services and are up to nine times more likely to have suicidal thoughts themselves. The LOSS team provides immediate support through postvention, which is also a form of prevention, by helping to dramatically reduce the risk factors. The Nebraska LOSS team currently is serving the Lincoln/Lancaster County area and is actively helping other communities throughout the state, such as Kearney and Norfolk, implement the LOSS team model.

Successes of Program or Inspirational Stories: Suicide is not a topic that many like to talk about, but unfortunately no one is immune and the community is impacted as a whole. Realizing that a simple question could save a life is critical information. When talking with suicide attempt survivors most say they did not want to end their life but rather just make the pain stop.

Hearing the many stories about lives that have been saved by someone noticing a change in a friend and making the effort to seek help. Receiving phone calls that a friend is going to stay with a suicidal individual until they know it’s safe for them to be alone. These are just a few examples of the types of situations that impact everyone involved along with providing hope for a brighter future.

A common question asked after a suicide has occurred is “How long will I feel this way?” Providing families with resources on how to process their grief helps to provide some comfort to questions that are difficult to answer. Offering guidance during situations such as a young child that has just lost a parent from suicide are circumstances most do not know how to approach. The NSSPC is very thankful for The Kim Foundation as well as the “Don’t Be Sidelined Campaign.” It has been incredible to hear the stories of the lives that have been transformed by calling the suicide prevention hotline after receiving a wristband during a game.

Other Comments: Suicide may be complicated to understand, but reaching out and helping can be simple. In connection with mental illness in general, suicide has a stigma associated to those that are having these thoughts, attempted or completed, along with loved ones that are left behind. With the help of the grant from The Kim Foundation, the coalition has been able to reduce the stigma and help to provide awareness along with resources to the general community. Suicide is a public health problem, and it is important that the warning signs and tips are readily available to take action. Please visit our websites listed below for more information. If you or someone you know is suicidal, please call the national suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or in an emergency dial 911.

Contact Information:
For resources, information on how to become involved, and how to donate to the cause please contact Jennifer Fry at nebraskalossteam@gmail.com or visit our websites:
http://www.suicideprevention.nebraska.edu
http://youthsuicideprevention.nebraska.edu
http://nelossteam.nebraska.edu

www.thekimfoundation.org/ | (402) 891.6911 | info@thekimfoundation.org | 13609 California Street | Omaha, NE 68154