Suicide Prevention PSA English from Los Angeles County Newsroom on Vimeo.
Launched in 2010 to meet the growing need for suicide prevention and crisis intervention resources, the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Network (LASPN) is a joint effort between LACDMH and its numerous partners who are collectively focused on decreasing the number of suicide deaths and attempts in L.A. County and beyond.
Together, LASPN works to engage communities, raise awareness of mental health issues and resources, coordinate professional and layperson training, and share evidence-based best practices for suicide prevention, intervention, and “postvention” (which supports those who survived a suicide attempt and those who have lost a loved one to suicide).
According to Tracie Andrews, LACDMH’s Mental Health Clinical Supervisor and Co-Chair of LASPN, the network’s formation was an organic process.
“Our department was already providing training, support, and linkage services through the MHSA-funded Partners in Suicide Prevention Program (PSP), and we discovered a wealth of experts and resources in the community as well as a broad range of unmet demand, so we formed LASPN as a way to bring all of our partners to the table and work together to prevent suicides in the County.”
Within LASPN’s membership roster are mental health service providers, governmental agencies, non-profits, community- and faith-based organizations, academic researchers, advocates, and those with lived experiences – all of whom engage in frequent and ongoing conversations to share resources, identify needs and gaps, and brainstorm new ways to better support and engage L.A.’s numerous communities.
“I see PSP and LASPN as two sides of the same coin, really,” Andrews said. “Whereas PSP is on ground doing the trainings, supporting our providers and community organizations, raising awareness and reducing stigma, LASPN has a more upstream focus, looking at data and facilitating collaborations to better inform the whole network on how we can do more and do better to serve our residents and communities.”
To make this possible, LASPN is involved in following key activities that spark dialogues, foster partnerships, and drive innovation in suicide prevention:
- Hosting the Annual Suicide Prevention Summit, a multi-day conference that brings together numerous experts from multiple fields to share research findings, lived experiences, and best practices in suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention, as well as celebrate progress and accomplishments made in suicide reduction.
- Releasing the Annual L.A. County Suicide Report Card that showcases recent suicide-related data and trends, as well as reminding public of available suicide crisis services and resources. The most recent report card is available here.
- Organizing specialized cross-sector workgroups on specific areas of information gathering and strategizing, such as the Veteran Workgroup focusing on suicide prevention in the veteran & military community, and the Media & Communication Workgroup to address suicide-related issues presented in entertainment and news content.
- Participating in relevant committees, advisory boards, workgroups, and task forces to share insights and make recommendations regarding suicide prevention services.
“The goal is to educate and equip our ever-growing network with the appropriate suicide prevention tools so that when there is ‘no wrong door’ when an individual experiencing a crisis is seeking help, whether at a mental health clinic, through a hotline, through their school, at a faith organization, in public spaces, or just about any place where there is someone who can help by direct support and/or referral to an appropriate resource,” Andrews said. “The more of this work we can do, the closer we will get to our North Star of zero suicides in L.A. County.”
To learn more about LASPN’s work, to get involved, or to request services from its network members, visit https://lasuicidepreventionnetwork.org/. And if you or a loved one is experiencing or affected by suicidal, mental health, and/or substance use distress, please contact the recently-launched 988 Lifeline, which provides free, confidential, 24/7 support through phone, text, or online chat.