- Zero Suicide: http://zerosuicide.sprc.org
- David's website https://davidwcovington.com/
Download MP3 [54:49]
So why should social workers care about Zero Suicide?
- Zero Suicide fits social work values. Zero suicide can only happen in a culture where people are encouraged to reach for the moon – that is no suicide, but are not punished for falling short. This idea of a “just culture” comes from Henry Ford Health System’s “Perfect Depression Care.”
- Zero Suicide can’t happen without social workers. Social workers provide more mental health services than all other professions combined. Social workers are team players and Zero Suicide is inherently interprofessional.
- Social workers are advocates. What if health care organizations use best practices, but those best practices haven’t been developed with diverse racial and ethnic groups, or don’t into account complex medical or trauma histories? What if Zero Suicide means that health care organizations have to spend more on training and staffing? Who will advocate for consumers if those costs are passed along to consumers rather than investors? Social workers have a professional responsibility to be involved in those conversations.
- Social workers are trained to identify and respond to issues at the practice – the micro, and policy – the macro – level. Well guess what – ZeroSuicide is like the holy grail of micro-macro integration: it requires coordinated changes in values, beliefs, and practices at the provider- and system-level. David will talk more about this during the interview, but in plain English it means that as a social worker I have to believe that suicide is preventable, know how to assess, intervene, and coordinate care, and trust that my organization will have my back. At a systems level, health care organizations have to make a multi-year commitment of time and resources to reduce suicide deaths, train and support clinical and non-clinical staff, screen and assess everyone in the system, and use data-driven quality improvement. It can’t work without changes at the micro and macro level.