IF YOUR ARE IN CRISIS
OR NEED HELP NOW - CALL 911 or 610-279-6100
It is popularly believed that most suicides take place during December. National suicide statistics have shown this to be a myth. Despite efforts, including a report from the Annenberg Public Policy Center, to correct it, this misperception persists in media accounts every year at this time.
Montgomery County data on suicides for all age groups for the years 2008-2015 show that most such deaths occurred in June and July and to a lesser extent in April and October, with December being a month with fewer suicides. County data on suicides among those under 20 years of age in 2008-2015 show youth suicides peaked in September and October and that there were far fewer suicides involving young people in November and December than in autumn months.
While suicides do not increase at this time of year the same cannot be said for suicidal behavior. Calls and referrals to the MCES Crisis Center involving suicidal ideation, suicide threats, and attempts remain heavy at this time of year.
Wendy Wait joined the MCES administrative staff in September in the newly created post of Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Wendy came to MCES from Holcomb Behavioral Health.
"Wendy's strong expertise and experience in behavioral health financial management will greatly strengthen MCES's capability in planning, analysis, and planning," said CEO Bill Myers.
In response to changing patterns of behavioral health and medical acuity in those seeking help or brought to MCES for help, nurses have joined the Crisis Department staff.
The nurses will greet those arriving for service, assess clients for medical conditions needing immediate attention, complete vital signs, drug screens, pain assessments, pregnancy and diabetes tests, and EKGs. The Welcome Nurse will convey this information, as applicable to the MCES Crisis Psychiatrist, initiate an individualized treatment plan and facilitate the admission process for those found in need of inpatient care.
"We did a trial run for a few weeks and found having a psychiatric nurse in our Crisis Center to be invaluable," said Julie Peticca, MCES Crisis Department director. "The nurses were well-received by both the clients and family members."
For about two months, six volunteers from NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) Montgomery County have been on-site at MCES. Their role is to assist and support family members and others attending the Mental Health Court as petitioners who filed a request for an involuntary psychiatric evaluation (known as a "302") on individuals felt to present a danger to themselves or others and could not or would not accept help. The hearings assure that the individual's rights have been respected and determine if on-going court-ordered treatment is indicated.
Most petitioners are family members of the patients who are involuntarily admitted to MCES through the 302 process. All struggled with the decision to take this step and have many questions about it and what they can do to help their relative or friend after the involuntary phase of treatment is completed. MCES staff and the Montgomery County Commitment Office Delegates give much information.
The NAMI volunteers, all of whom have family members with serious mental illness and some of whom have been petitioners, bring a valuable peer perspective to the discussions. In addition, the NAMI representatives introduce those coming to the hearings to educational and support resources available to help families understand and cope with serious mental illness.
On September 10, 2014, the first signs giving the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-TALK) were posted at the Norristown Transportation Center suburban rail station. This was the product of a collaboration of SEPTA and MCES.
Since then more than 1000 signs have been placed at both SEPTA commuter rail and subway-surface trolley stations throughout the region. Other commuter rail carriers have followed SEPTA's lead.
Over the last two years, the MCES Crisis Center has received calls on the Lifeline from suicidal people who saw the signs and called for help from the platform. MCES appreciates SEPTA's strong commitment to suicide prevention.
Montgomery County Emergency Service, Inc.
50 Beech Drive, Norristown, PA
610-279-6100 or toll free 844-455-7455