Improving Florida’s data collection of suicidal behaviors is one of the main goals of a statewide task force looking at youth suicide and prevention efforts.
Dr. Heather Flynn sits on the Florida Statewide Suicide Prevention Task Force—a new subset of the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet. The Florida State University College of Medicine professor says because the task force is made up of several state agencies and stakeholders, it will help in improving upon suicide data collection efforts.
“Everybody has expertise to bring to the table to determine the best way to both gather the information, improve the information, and to use the information towards actionable goals in terms of finding out who’s suffering in Florida, who’s dying, and how can we prevent that,” Flynn stated, during a recent meeting.
Flynn adds some states have had successful models, including Oregon.
“For example, they found among adolescents that firearms and hanging were the most common mechanism of suicide and most lethal. Mental health problems, interpersonal problems—such as a romantic relationship break up—school problems are the most commonly associated factors, which right there provides information for prevention and intervention,” she added. “You want to go to the schools.”
Moving forward, Florida’s task force wants to start making revisions to the state’s suicide prevention plan.
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