Financial Lifeline for Strapped Suicide Crisis Call Centers

Thursday, August 13th, 2009
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

Calls into suicide crisis centers have substantially increased during the past year — 54,054 calls in the last recorded month alone — with between 20 to 30 percent of calls being specifically linked to economic distress. In a featured story in this week’s Healthcare Business Weekly Update, SAMHSA offers a financial lifeline to these centers, many of which have had state and local funding cuts at a time when they’re needed most.

Healthcare providers can intervene by being alert to signs of depression in patients. The MacArthur Foundation Initiative on Depression and Primary Care offers a free downloadable Depression Tool Kit intended to help providers recognize and manage depression. Also available is a sample Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), a nine-question depression screening tool, as well as instructions for using the PHQ-9 to make a tentative depression diagnosis. Depression is often a hidden comorbidity for patients with multiple chronic health issues. Getting depressed patients the behavioral health support they need can raise patient activation and engagement levels and put the patient on the path to improved self-management.

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