Suicide awareness, screening and prevention supports

The impact of suicide on Ohioans is staggering. According to a report released by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), 1,836 Ohioans, or 5 Ohioans per day, died by suicide in 2018, and Ohio saw an overall 24% increase in suicide rates between 2008-20171. Suicide is currently the 10th cause of death in the United State. Suicide rates are rising in specific population groups:

  • Children/adolescents 10-24 years old (14.3% of Ohio high school students reported having seriously considered attempting suicide at least once over the previous 12 months2)
  • Males (25-59 Years old)
  • Veterans and Military Members
  • High-risk Appalachian counties

To respond effectively to these growing statistics, UnitedHealthcare is evaluating the data, making solid actionable campaigns, educating members and providers, providing supports in the community and within practices and continually evaluating the effectiveness through data analytics.

It is estimated that 45% of those dying by suicide saw their primary care physician in the month before their death3.

UnitedHealthcare has partnered with local and national advocacy groups to address this urgent health care need. Together, we are helping to ensure providers in Ohio have the tools necessary to increase screening for suicidal behavior for individuals seen in primary care provider practices. Our support of providers also includes but is not limited to:

  • Behavioral health toolkit
  • OptumHealth education for providers which includes training courses, videos and more
  • Practice Matters quarterly newsletter, and provider portal

Our suicide prevention and awareness program for members is attempting to reduce suicides in Ohio through stronger member education and outreach. 

In addition to training our care managers to be more aware of members who are at risk of suicide and including an assessment in all new member screenings, we have increased education and resources for members, including but not limited to:

  • Giving members access to provider expertise and evidence-based treatment
  • Providing members with crisis call support, suicide prevention hotline and 24/7 crisis texting
  • Education and resources including online tools and a suicide prevention poster campaign
  • Supporting virtual and in-person mental health first aid training and signs of suicide training for youth and staff at youth-serving organizations

1Ohio Department of Health (2019). Suicide Demographics and Trends, Ohio, 2018. Retrieved from M1HGGIK0N0JO00QO9DDDDM3000-fef3e5ee-b4c6-4e2e-a0b1-40c68e123f9f-mVCbMqs 
2Ohio Department of Health (2019). Epi-Aid 2018-025: Increase in youth suicides — Stark County, Ohio, 2018. Retrieved from  
3Anna K. McDowell, MD, Timothy W. Lineberry, MD, and J. Michael Bostwick, MD. Practical Suicide-Risk Management for the Busy Primary Care Physician. 2011 Aug. From the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (A.K.M.), University of Washington, Seattle, WA, and Department of Psychiatry and Psychology (T.W.L., J.M.B.), Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. Retrieved from

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