Communities deploy suicide prevention training
As we continue our Bold Goal work within communities, we see opportunities to address specific chronic conditions that affect Healthy Days. We then collaborate with our community partners to co-create programs that can make a difference.
Among the health conditions known to affect older adults, and that Humana is screening for, is depression. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports depression affects about 7 million of the 49.2 million Americans 65 and older.
Most people in this stage of life with depression have been experiencing episodes of the illness during much of their lives, but others may experience a first onset in late life—even in their 80s and 90s, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. And many people who have depression in this age group are reluctant to get support until it’s a crisis situation.
Bold Goal community partners in Broward County, Fla., noted depression as a growing problem among their senior population. Many of Broward’s seniors have relocated from other parts of the country, with no family nearby and have not achieved cohesion with the community. The community has a shortage of mental health professionals to counsel seniors who are experiencing the after effects of two recent hurricanes, the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School and, now, the COVID-19 pandemic. To try to turn this mental health crisis around:
- Humana partnered with Janssen Pharmaceuticals to hold a sustained engagement workshop for case managers and case workers who go into homes and hospitals. The purpose was to increase their ability to identify problems and their knowledge of ways to help.
- Humana is participating in the two-day United Way Behavioral Health Summit, to be attended by more than 1,000 people. The event focuses on ways to fix the local mental health system and increase access to care.
- Humana is a stakeholder in the Broward County Suicide Task Force.
Louisville, one of the original Bold Goal markets, worked on community-wide efforts as well. The suicide prevention training Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) was undertaken on a large scale through a Louisville Health Advisory Board behavioral health initiative. Louisville believes it set a record for training the most individuals in QPR in one week when thousands of Louisville residents were certified as QPR gatekeepers, including several hundred Humana associates. The organizing team continues to host monthly QPR training sessions and advise other cities about how Louisville went about the initiative so others can implement it in their own communities. Additionally, amidst the pandemic, the team has facilitated virtual QPR training across the city and state.
The Bold Goal community of Kansas City, too, has seen a need for tools to cope with depression and anxiety. Emotional support became an immediate need in recent months due to anxiety brought on by COVID-19 concerns. With a large military population in the Kansas City area who are Humana members, it was imperative to get them emotional support during this time.
Humana worked with The Battle Within and the national VFW organization to provide online sessions and speakers who shared tips with the first responders to cope with the stress they faced. A free virtual session was provided and those who needed more support were provided additional mental health sessions with licensed therapists.
These types of solutions, while local, are proving valuable in supporting our members, along with the broader community. As we see success, we share our learnings with other communities to implement with their own populations.