More News >
In 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that about 9.1 percent of people nationwide report symptoms of depression. In Oklahoma, the rate of depression being reported from mental health screenings is currently just over 24 percent, and suicide is the second leading cause of death for Oklahomans ages 25-34.
To overcome this community health issue, St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City, a part of SSM Health, has been working with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) to reduce the number of suicides. A multi-disciplinary hospital team has been using a number of innovative tools and focusing on education and early detection.
As a result of these efforts, St. Anthony Hospital was recognized as a Gold Standard Hospital by the ODMHSAS – a recognition that also included the hospital's selection as lead partner in the state's ongoing Zero Suicide Initiative.
According to Lanette Long, M.Ed, director of business development for St. Anthony Behavioral Health, the hospital had a number of initiatives in place to address this community need, including:
"When the state recognized the initiatives we had already put in place, they asked us to join their partnership," Long said.
Under the partnership, ODMHSAS provides a part-time employee to make follow-up calls after a patient discharges from the ER.
The partnership also has allowed St. Anthony Hospital to launch a second initiative — Screening and Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) – an evidence-based practice designed to recognize early warning signs of substance abuse, depression and suicide in the primary care setting.
Kersey Winfree, MD, regional vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer of SSM Health in Oklahoma, said, "We had seen success with the initiatives we'd already put it place and recognized that expanding them would continue to improve outcomes for patients who were at risk for depression or suicide.”
Michelle Ellenburg, NP, was recruited specifically for the project. "Patients, who are willing to participate, fill out a questionnaire on an iPad,” said Ellenburg, the lead practitioner on the SBIRT program. “If their answers indicate any risk factors, it offers me an opportunity to talk about the specifics.”
If there are indicators for depression, she first performs a brief intervention to discuss the issue and then offers counseling and anti-depressant medication, and makes follow-up calls. If there are alcohol concerns, she discusses healthy limits for daily alcohol consumption.
"We see a lot of 20-30 year-olds through our practice, so we sometimes talk about why drinking beyond those limits is not healthy," Ellenburg said. In more extreme cases, patients can also be referred to alcohol dependency programs through St. Anthony Hospital's behavioral health units.
Ellenburg has screened over 260 patients since June 2016, and 17 of those patients showed indications for severe depression that required intervention.
While the SBIRT program is focused on patients at the primary care site, another partnership with ODMHSAS supports initiatives that are part of a more comprehensive program
KOGNITO offers St. Anthony Hospital physicians continuing medical education credits to learn more about how to uncover mental health and substance abuse issues when interacting with their patients.
And to cast an even wider net, a course, featuring suicide prevention training, is now mandatory for all 2,400 St. Anthony Hospital employees.
"That means all of those employees will be empowered with knowledge that could help prevent the suicide of a friend, church member, neighbor, or even a family member," Long said.
Terms | Privacy |
Contact | Careers |
SSM Health complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex.
Learn more here.