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UW School of Nursing helps launch suicide prevention non-profit

Monday October 14, 2013
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The University of Washington School of Nursing joined other affiliated UW departments on Sept. 10 to launch Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention at the campus's Husky Union Building Lyceum in Seattle. The affiliated schools were social work, communication, psychology, psychiatry and education, according to a school spokesperson.
According to a news release Forefront is a comprehensive program intended to help remove the stigma associated with suicidal thoughts and mental health concerns that touch everyone.
Forefront is designed to act as a source of information for audiences including mental health professionals, suicide loss survivors and the media. The event was attended by more than 300 people and raised nearly $75,000 to support start-up work in training, public policy, media outreach and support for survivors bereaved by suicide.
Health professionals are increasingly aware of the importance of mental health for a patient's well-being, and are assessing it on par with physical health, Elaine Walsh, RN, PhD, PMHCNS-BC, associate professor in the school of nursing and Forefront affiliate said in the release. People who are struggling with mental health issues are still stigmatized, but we are making progress towards removing that stigma.
While all of the involved disciplines play a key role in suicide prevention, Walsh said nursing is uniquely positioned to be on the frontlines of suicide prevention. As vital pieces of the healthcare team and often the ones who ask many personal questions about overall health, nurses often have the opportunity to learn more about the patient in a way other health professions don't.
People trust nurses, and nurses are trained to ask questions, listen carefully to responses, and mobilize resources, she said.Nurses understand the importance of working collaboratively with patients and appropriate significant others. These skills are helpful when working with those who are at risk for suicide.

For INFORMATION, visit Nursing.UW.edu.