SPECIAL TO THE DAYTONA TIMES
Halifax Health, with assistance from several community partners, has launched an initiative that aims to prevent suicides in Volusia and Flagler counties by providing mental wellness services and resources for those in need.
“Suicide affects all ages. Nationally, it is the second leading cause of death for people 10-34 years of age, the fourth leading cause among people 35-54 years of age and the eighth leading cause among people between the ages of 55 and 64,’’ explained James Terry, service line administrator for child and adolescent behavioral services at Halifax Health.
“Here, in the Volusia-Flagler area, suicide rates are well above the state average. It’s clear we have a serious crisis taking place that we need to address. Halifax Health’s Connect 4 Hope initiative will hopefully assist in raising awareness of this crisis and providing our community with the resources necessary to prevent suicide.”
With the assistance of community partners SMA Healthcare; Randy Dye, owner of Daytona Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram & FIAT; Mission 22 and Volusia County Schools, Halifax Health has launched the Connect 4 Hope initiative, which is committed to suicide prevention through community programs and events, and making educational tools and resources easily available to all ages – children, adolescents and adults.
Last November, Halifax Health hosted its first awareness event – the Ride to Stop Suicide Poker Run. Dozens of local motorcycling enthusiasts took part in the inaugural poker run which is slated to become an annual event.
Driver on board
Daniel Dye of DeLand, a 16-year-old Pro Late Model Driver for Ben Kennedy Racing, is a spokesperson for the initiative’s Race to Stop Suicide campaign.
Dye, who races at New Smyrna Beach Speedway and other racetracks in the series, has the message “Race to Stop Suicide” displayed on the hood of his race car and on his hero cards for fans.
In addition, Dye is featured in the campaign’s public service announcements airing on local radio stations. The PSAs include a message from Dye providing information on suicide prevention and mental health resources.
Through July, Halifax Health and SMA Healthcare are partnering to present free classes that provide Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) training.
QPR is an instant response system, much like CPR, that includes proper questioning, practice, referral, and genuine persuasion in the event of a suicide crisis. The classes also provide training on how to identify the warning signs of suicide and the proper ways to deal with a crisis.
Upcoming QPR training classes will take place on the following dates from 6 to 8 p.m.
- Wednesday, May 22, Ormond Beach YMCA, Healthy Living Center, 500 Sterthaus Drive
- Wednesday, June 12, DeLand YMCA, Healthy Living Center, 761 E. International Speedway Blvd.
- Wednesday, July 17, Four Townes YMCA, Healthy Living Center, 280 Wolf Pack Run, Deltona
In addition, Halifax Health’s official website – halifaxhealth.org – now features a Connect 4 Hope page that includes a comprehensive listing of local and national suicide prevention and mental health resources, including: SMA Healthcare, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Mental Health America of East Central Florida, Begin-Again Children’s Grief Center and the Halifax Health-Hospice Traumatic Loss Program.
To learn more about the Connect 4 Hope initiative and the mental health and suicide prevention resources available, visit halifaxhealth.org/connect4hope.