Goal Statement: The goal of this plan is to increase awareness of resources for suicide and intentional self-harm among all age groups, with a special focus on elderly males, and develop prevention strategies to support the community.
Significant Findings: According to Health Matters Inc.’s measurement period from 2017-2019, Ventura County’s Adult Hospitalization due to Adult Suicide and Intentional Self-Inflicted Injury is above the California average, has risen from 14.7 to 21.9 out of a 10,000-person population. The worst age group being 85+ with 18–34-year-olds falling shortly behind and an insignificant difference or ratio between men to women ("Ventura County Public Health: Indicators: Age-Adjusted Hospitalization Rate due to Adult Suicide and Intentional Self-inflicted Injury: County: Ventura", 2021). In Ventura County’s Medical Examiner’s Office Annual Report for 2017, White-non-Hispanic middle-aged males accounted for 57% of the 99 recorded suicides (County of Ventura California, 2017). Suicide attempts and suicides are incredibly demanding on the medical system, costing $70 billion per year in lifetime medical and work-loss costs ("Fast Facts", 2021). Over the course of 13 years, around 2.2% of the suicides in 55+ year-olds in the United States were correlated with long term care (Mezuk et al., 2019). Researchers who conducted this study suggest factoring in ways to improve residential transitions since the transition to long term care can be disruptive and go hand in hand with other stages of human development which are more normative but still difficult like declining physical and cognitive health or death of a partner (Mezuk et al., 2019). This portfolio will explore more research, risks and protective factors, diversity and ethical considerations, opportunities to apply the Social Cognitive Theory to prevention efforts alongside the Social Ecological Model, and will seek ways to advocate for vulnerable populations.
Objectives/Strategies/Interventions/Next Steps: The proposed next steps for this project include the following:
- Consult with hospitals and nursing homes about their systems for outpatient transition post suicide attempt as well as the process nursing homes, or long-term care facilities go through to support elderly in coming to care.
- Use insights from their systems to develop and implement new interventions and strategies to support smoother transitions from hospitalization to outpatient treatment and from home living to nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
- Poll the community about societal norms and beliefs to better understand the strength of various risk factors given there are so many protective factors in Ventura County.
- Use the information from the poll to present to leaders, healthcare professionals, financial advisors and investors, the VA, lawmakers, influencers, community groups, volunteer programs, and schools to spread awareness.
- Begin recruiting from the aforementioned groups to create a board that works together to promote protective factors and change within their systems and communities, produce social media campaigns, and enact changes within their institutions.