Health Care & Insurance  May 6, 2024

Banner receives suicide-prevention certification

GREELEY — Banner Health has completed a 12-month employee training program created by United Suicide Survivors International and supported by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization. 

The H.O.P.E. Certification is focused on empowering workers to become champions of organizational change and takes on topics related to mental health, addictive behaviors and suicide prevention. Banner was awarded a platinum-level H.O.P.E. Certification during a ceremony last Wednesday; it is the first health care organization in the country to be selected for participation and to complete the program.  

The H.O.P.E. Certification, which stands for “Helping Our People Elevate Through Tough Times,” was launched in New York as a pilot program and has since expanded to Colorado with organizations in construction, nonprofit, health care and mental health. Over the past 12 months, the program offered quarterly training and ongoing coaching on how to implement best practices developed from research, literature and lived experience.  

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“What we really looked at when we saw this opportunity was a structured way to save lives,” Victoria Cordova,  director of behavioral health services at Banner, said in a written statement. “At the end of the day, mental illness — just like every other medical condition — has different severity levels, and it is just as important to focus on mental health as it is any  other medical condition out there.”  

According to Mental Health Colorado, the state has a higher rate of both suicide (21.7%) and overdose (17.1%)  when compared to most of the country.  

“Hospitals do a great job of taking care of patients — that has always been the focus and what we are there for,”  Cordova said. “We cannot take care of our patients to the best of our ability if we are not taking care of ourselves  to the best of our ability.” 

Cordova is hoping to see more openness in talking about mental health and ensuring that suicide prevention is widely known and practiced within Banner Health in Northern Colorado. She is also hoping to leverage the framework learned through the H.O.P.E. Certification throughout the entire Banner system, which includes hospitals and clinics in Arizona, California, Nebraska, Nevada and  Wyoming.  

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