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  • Jonathan Isserow

Visit to Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Centre and Jump Street services

I had the honour of visiting two inspirational services under the Didi Hirsch umbrella on the 9th June 2023. The first was the Suicide Prevention Centre (SPC). This is a leading service that provides a range of individual, family and group for people w therapeutic support impacted by suicide. It also houses the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline which is overseen by Didi Hirsch since Congress designated it the 988 dialing code in 2020.

Deyanira Caceres, the Spanish Bilingual Language Co-ordinator and the Lifeline generously met to provide a comprehensive overview of the service and how callers are offered different pathways so that they can find a telephone counsellor or volunteer that fosters connection and understanding. This includes the option to speak to an English, Spanish or Korean speaking councillor. Impressively there is also the option for Veterans, LGBTQI and teens to be directed to specialist service. Some of these fall under Didi Hirsch and others are attended by external agencies. The aim of the helpline is to de-escalate an emotional crisis and to empower the caller to return to a position of safety for today. Deyanira thoughtfully explained that a call to SPC can be understood as an expression of ambivalence and signifies the part of the person that does not want to die. This offers a potential avenue to sensitively explore and strengthen that part of the person that wants to stay alive. Deyanira also articulated the comprehensive training, support, mentoring and supervision all staff receive. Demand for the Lifeline demand increased three-fold since 988 came into operation. I was deeply moved by the life saving impact of this work which cannot be estimated. Similar to all services, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline is subject to evaluation and review

At Jump Street, I had the chance to connect with Elan Javanfard , Division Director of Residential and Substances Services. Jump Street provides crisis stabilisation and support for individuals who have persistent or acute mental illness, which can also include co-occurring disorders. Their crisis services are provided in a structured, intensive program for up to 28 days. Clients can come from outpatient intensive programs to avoid hospitalisation or directly from hospitals to continue their crisis stabilisation. They have capacity for 10 clients, Jump Street creates a welcoming, home-like environment where clients can regain the dignity and sense of responsibility that are critical to hope and wellness. Thank you so much Deyanira, Elan and all staff at SPC and Jump Street for making my visit so memorable and interesting.

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