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The Drive to Zero Suicide Award

In recent years, South Carolina hospitals have become increasingly committed to incorporating behavioral health into their patient safety and quality efforts. The issue of suicide is at the forefront of these efforts, given its devestating impact on Americans. According to the Center for Disease Control, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and one of only three causes of death that is rising rather than falling in recent years.

There are a number of reasons people choose to take their own life, from mental health conditions and substance abuse disorders to general health problems or housing, financial and social stresses. Many of these are areas in which hospitals and health systems can and do make a difference.

That’s why in 2021, SCHA’s Zero Harm efforts were expanded to include The Drive to Zero Suicide Award.  Given in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Mental Health, this award recognizes facilities that are embracing Zero Harm through the adoption of specific Zero Suicide strategies, including specific training, policy enhancements, safety planning, screening, changes related to electronic medical records (for tracking & reporting suicide), and formal coordination with their local community mental health center. See the full Drive to Zero Suicide Resources & Metrics Guide for additional details.

Zero Harm is, at the end of the day, about looking for ways to eliminate harm from our patient’s lives. With The Drive to Zero Suicide initiative, we are not changing our mission so much as broadening our conception of what quality care can and should be.