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The West Virginia Council for the Prevention of Suicide (WVCPS)


The West Virginia Council for the Prevention of Suicide (WVCPS)

Partnership Activities:

The WVCPS, a nonprofit organization whose mission includes raising awareness of and providing information and training on suicide risks and prevention, is funded partially by SAMHSA through the West Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Health Facilities (DBHHF). The WVU ICRC assistant director for outreach initially joined the WVCPS board of directors, and subsequently became one of five executive board members and the Council secretary. He has participated in strategic planning and proposal development for the Council. The Computerized Adaptive Tests for Mental Health (CAT-MH) Implementation Collaborative (see ICRC Partnership 6 below) was prompted by a series of demonstrations conducted in WV by Dr. Robert Gibbons (CAT-MH developer from the University of Chicago) that were facilitated by the WVCPS. Subsequent discussions at a WVCPS board of directors meeting led to the formation of the multidisciplinary, multi-organizational collaborative discussed below.


Public Health Impact of Partnerships:

Over the past decade and a half, West Virginia has experienced above average suicide rates when compared to other U.S. states and the District of Columbia. In 2012, the WV rate was 17.1 deaths per 100,000 population, compared with an overall U.S. rate of 12.5 deaths per 100,000 population (Source: WISQARS). The WV rate in 2012 is the 13th highest among the 51 U.S. jurisdictions, and represented a nearly 30% rise from the rate experienced in 2009. Although the WVCPS addresses suicide risks and prevention across the entire WV population, certain demographic groups and subpopulations within WV face higher than average rates, including military personnel and veterans, youth, and elders. The WVCPS is focusing attention on those populations, as well as on gaps in suicide awareness and information, and in screening, intervention, referrals and treatment capacity to reduce the toll.


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