Services

Community Outreach

Medina County Coalition for Suicide Prevention

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in Ohio, with an average of three deaths each day. A reported 1,200 Ohioans die each year by suicide, yet suicide still carries a stigma as something that should not be discussed. Alternative Paths, in collaboration with many community partners developed the Medina County Coalition for Suicide Prevention, meant to be a catalyst to bring about change in attitudes and perceptions regarding stigma related to suicide, mental illness, and addiction. Our focus is to become a resource to educate community residents of all ages on how to prevent suicide and support survivors after a death by suicide. 

The Medina County Coalition for Suicide Prevention’s mission is to provide the opportunity for allied groups to pursue coordinated strategies to educate, increase public awareness that suicide is a public health problem, and empower people to seek help for themselves and others.

Annually, the Coalition sponsors two major events, an annual Youth Suicide Prevention Video Contest and the Step Up to Prevent Suicide Community Walk. Details regarding these events can be found on the agency’s website or events page.

Suicide Warning Signs

Members of the Medina County Coalition for Suicide Prevention

  • Alternative Paths, Inc.
  • Brunswick Chamber of Commerce
  • Medina County ADAMH Board
  • Medina County Board of Developmental Disability
  • Medina County Health Department
  • Medina County Juvenile /Probate Courts
  • Medina County Juvenile Detention Center
  • Medina County Career Center
  • Medina City Schools
  • Medina Police Department
  • The Society
  • Veteran's Administration


LOSS (LOcal outreach of suicide survivors) Team

 
Program Description

The Alternative Paths LOSS (Local Outreach of Suicide Survivor) Team for Medina County supports postvention efforts following a death by suicide.  All postvention activities will focus on support for the bereaved (family, friends, professionals and peers). Connecting to services and supports as soon as possible can reduce stigma, restore hope and promote healing. Funding for the LOSS Team is being provided by the Medina County ADAMH Board.
 
The Medina County LOSS Team shall provide the following:
  • Crisis response outreach when a death by suicide occurs. LOSS Team Clinicians trained in crisis response will respond to the location of a suicide death and provide support to loved ones in the immediate hours after they have lost someone to suicide.  The LOSS Team will be dispatched by local law enforcement.
  • Clinicians will provide ongoing outreach to suicide loss survivors. LOSS Team Clinicians may outreach individuals affected by a suicide death in the days following the loss. The team will also attempt to engage the survivors in supportive contacts in the weeks and months following to ensure survivors have access to needed resources or to provide general support.
  • The LOSS Team will refer survivors to needed bereavement resources to support the healthy grieving process of individuals and attend to mental health needs.  The LOSS Team Clinician is not expected to become the ongoing treatment provider for the survivors.
Postvention is Prevention
  • LOSS Teams engaged in activities implemented after a death by suicide, can reduce the risk of additional deaths by suicide. 
  • Persons with a history of suicide in their family are at higher risk of suicide.
  • It has been found that many survivors delay engaging in bereavement resources due to their lack of knowledge about where to seek help.
  • Those who have lost someone to suicide many times have complicated bereavement processes impacted by the stigma of suicide.  Early support and engagement with resources works to reduce the long-term mental health effects.
  • The county will have a team of clinicians specifically trained in prevention/ intervention and postvention skills related to suicide.
  • The LOSS Team is a component in an array of prevention efforts within our county which include; Suicide Prevention Coalition, HOPE Squad, QPR Trainings, CIT, as well as 24/7 Crisis Intervention Services.
 
Principles of a LOSS Team
 
Evidence-Informed Research indicates that many individuals experience fear, anxiety, a need to connect with others, a sense of being overwhelmed, and/or hopelessness immediately after a suicide and that addressing these issues early on, is related to improved recovery.  Loss Team Clinicians will focus on five basic principles:
 
1. Safety
Survivors may be concerned about their own safety and the safety of those close to them.
 
2. Calming
Suicide may cause fear, distress, and anxiety.
 
3. Connectedness
Suicide can separate families, friends, and community members, and shatter the connectedness people share with one another.
 
4. Self and Community Efficacy
After a suicide, individuals may feel overwhelmed and vulnerable. Nevertheless, every survivor and community has strengths upon which to draw. Help survivors to identify and apply their strengths, learn new strategies to cope with their situation, and begin to rebuild their lives and their communities.
 
5. Hope
When survivors are feeling that their world is falling apart and everything is hitting them at once, make every attempt to promote a sense of hope.
 
Team Objectives
  • Establish a human connection in a non-intrusive, compassionate manner. 
  • Enhance immediate and ongoing safety and provide physical and emotional comfort.
  • Calm and orient emotionally overwhelmed or distraught individuals. 
  • Assess and address survivor’s immediate needs and concerns, and gather additional information as appropriate.
  • Offer practical assistance and information to help address their immediate needs and concerns.
  • Connect survivors as soon as possible to support networks, including family members, friends, neighbors, and community resources.
  • Support adaptive coping, acknowledge coping efforts and strengths, and empower survivors.
  • Ensure survivors understand the LOSS Team’s role.
  • Educate survivors on the 24/7 Crisis and Behavioral Health Helpline Services in Medina County.

 

Community Education

As a community-based provider, Alternative Path strives to provide community education opportunities to better inform consumers, professionals, and the community at large about behavioral health issues in our community. The agency will hold community education opportunities throughout the year to accomplish this goal.

Please check out our Events for upcoming community outreach events.

Crisis Intervention Team Training (CIT)

CIT is a collaborative effort between law enforcement and the mental health community in an effort to help law enforcement and emergency responders handle incidents involving people with mental illness. CIT is a community-based collaborative between law enforcement, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) of Medina County, The Medina County ADAMH Board, Alternative Paths, and mental health consumers. Officers and emergency personnel receive 32 hours of training on mental illness, crisis intervention, de-escalation techniques, and the local behavioral health system.

Attendees learn to integrate their police and emergency responder training with new skills and approaches when responding to a person they believe is exhibiting signs of having mental illness or persons experiencing a psychiatric crisis.