Live On is a Utah statewide effort to prevent suicide by promoting education, providing resources, and changing culture around suicide and mental health
St. George, UT (PRUnderground) July 21st, 2023
In a society where mental distress and suicide are at concerning levels, Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital in Utah is part of a pilot program to implement training and other resources with an emphasis on the mental well-being of healthcare workers.
St. George Hospital is part of Live On, a pilot program to implement training and other resources, focusing on three main areas of concern with an emphasis on the mental well-being of healthcare workers to promote self-care, encourage help seeking behavior, and help giving. The program is an opportunity to take part in one of Utah’s suicide prevention strategies, educating, providing resources, and changing our culture around suicide and mental health.
“This is an effort to align a lot of different initiatives to help our caregivers,” said Doug Thomas, Intermountain’s community health director. “We know there are people who are struggling in our communities, and there are often extra struggles for people working in healthcare.” As a result of the strain placed on healthcare workers during and after the pandemic, as well as exposure to trauma and other stressors in their work, several professions under the healthcare umbrella fall into the top five groups for higher-than-average suicide rates.
“That’s why we worked with Utah state leaders to focus on our healthcare workforce,” Thomas said. The focus areas aim to educate caregivers to evaluate their own level of self-care; meaning what are they doing to maintain their own mental and emotional well-being as they care for others.
“That could be going for a walk, gardening, reaching out to a friend to talk, seeking professional help, meditation, exercise, there are all kinds of ways to meet your personal mental and emotional well-being needs,” Thomas said.
The second area of emphasis — help-seeking behavior — confronts the problem of caregivers who shy away from seeking help when they need it, often because they are so used to providing care for others.
“Sometimes they’re concerned about stigma, other times they don’t want to burden others with their problems,” Thomas said. “We need to help caregivers see that it is a sign of strength to reach out for help when they need it. We’re trying to normalize help-seeking behavior and encourage it, the earlier the better. Just like you wouldn’t try to set your own bone, you should feel safe to reach out for help with your mental and emotional health.”
The final piece to the project is help-giving, an area that comes a little more naturally to those who are already in a profession in which they give help to others regularly. “This is the idea of focusing on fellow caregivers and family members who may need help, not just our patients,” Thomas said. “We offer QPR training and peer support that is absolutely free and helps people know the kinds of questions to ask someone who is struggling, and what kinds of resources they can refer to or provide.”
This pilot program aims to provide a template so that similar programs can soon be offered in other health systems throughout Utah. In the meantime, more information about the Live On program, as well as available resources can be found at www.LiveOnUtah.org
About Intermountain Health
Headquartered in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations across the western U.S., www.intermountainhealth.org is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called Select Health with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information or updates, see https://intermountainhealthcare.org/news.