CABS Health Network is a leading provider of home care services to people who need assistance with daily living activities, such as bathing, dressing, feeding, and medication management. We work with clients who have chronic or terminal illnesses, disabilities, or mental health conditions. We understand homecare workers and care management staff may also face diverse challenges that can put them at risk of stress, burnout, depression, and even suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
September is Suicide Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness and take action to prevent this tragic outcome with the theme “Creating Hope Through Action”. As a homecare worker or care management staff, you play a key role in supporting suicide prevention and your mental health. How can you do this? Here are a few tips:
Recognize the signs of suicide risk in yourself and your clients.
Some common warning signs according to NIH include:
- – expressing hopelessness, guilt, or worthlessness
- – Withdrawing from family, friends, or social activities or disinterest in once-loved hobbies can be red flags.
- – giving away belongings or saying goodbye
- – talking about death, dying, or suicide
- – increasing substance use or self-harm
- – showing changes in mood, behavior, or appearance
- – experiencing a loss, trauma, or crisis
- – Look out for unexplained injuries, weight loss, or neglect of personal hygiene.
If you notice any of these signs in yourself or your clients, do not ignore them. Seek help from a mental health professional (you can also talk to us at CABS), a suicide prevention hotline provided by the government, any recognized health institution, or a trusted person as soon as possible.
– Listen with empathy and compassion to your clients and yourself.
Sometimes, people who are suicidal may feel alone, misunderstood, or judged. They may not want to burden others with their problems or fears. As a homecare worker or care management staff, you can offer a listening ear and a caring presence to your clients who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts or feelings. You can also practice self-care by talking to someone you trust about your challenges and emotions. Listening with empathy and compassion can help reduce the sense of isolation and stigma that often surrounds suicide.
– Learn about the resources and support available for suicide prevention and mental health.
Many organizations and programs provide information, education, training, and assistance for suicide prevention and mental health. Some examples are:
- – The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, is a 24/7 toll-free hotline that connects callers with trained counselors who can offer crisis intervention, emotional support, and referrals to local resources.
- – The Crisis Text Line, a 24/7 text service that connects texters with trained volunteers who can provide crisis counseling and referrals to local resources.
- – The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, is a national organization that funds research, advocates for policies, creates educational programs, and supports survivors of suicide loss.
- – The World Health Organization, is an international agency that promotes global health and well-being, including mental health and suicide prevention.
- – The Home Care Association of America, a national organization that represents home care agencies and provides resources and guidance for home care workers and care management staff.
You can also check with us as your employer, your local community, or your online network for more resources and support that may be relevant for you and your clients.
– Take action to prevent suicide and promote mental health.
As a homecare worker or care management staff, you have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of your clients and yourself. You can take action to prevent suicide and promote mental health by:
– Following the safety plan of your clients who are at risk of suicide.
A safety plan is a written document that outlines the steps to take when someone is feeling suicidal. It may include coping strategies, warning signs, triggers, support contacts, and emergency resources. You can help your clients create or follow their safety plan by reminding them of their reasons for living, encouraging them to use their coping skills, contacting their support network, or calling for help if needed.
– Encourage your clients to seek professional help if they are experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings.
Professional help can include therapy, medication, hospitalization, or other forms of treatment that can address the underlying causes of suicide and improve mental health. You can help your clients access professional help by providing information, referrals, transportation, or accompaniment if needed.
– Supporting your clients to maintain their physical and mental well-being.
Regularly check in on them. You can help your clients stay healthy by assisting them with their daily living activities, such as eating nutritious meals, taking their medications, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and engaging in enjoyable hobbies. You can also help your clients stay connected by facilitating social interactions with their family, friends, or community members.
– Seeking professional help for yourself if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings.
As a homecare worker or care management staff, you may face stressors that can affect your mental health and well-being. You deserve to receive the same care and support that you provide to your clients. You can seek professional help by contacting a mental health provider, a suicide prevention hotline, or your employer’s employee assistance program if available, (in this case, CABS has provisions for this).
– Maintaining your own physical and mental well-being.
You can take care of yourself by following a healthy lifestyle that includes eating well, exercising regularly, sleeping enough, and avoiding substance abuse. You can also practice self-care by setting boundaries, taking breaks, asking for help when needed, and doing things that make you happy.
Risk Assessment Tips for Care Manager Staff
Identify clients with known risk factors, such as a history of mental health issues, substance abuse, or recent life stressors. Assess a client’s overall needs and create care plans. Conduct a more comprehensive risk assessment for clients with known risk factors.
Encourage open and non-judgmental communication with clients. Create a safe space for them to share their feelings.
Work closely with a client’s mental health professionals to ensure they receive the appropriate care. In the event of a crisis or acute mental health issue, care management staff can liaise with mental health professionals and emergency services to ensure immediate care.
Training and Education:
Care management staff can provide training and education to home care workers on recognizing warning signs and implementing preventive measures.
Suicide prevention is a shared responsibility. Suicide is a serious public health problem that affects millions of people around the world. However, suicide is also preventable and treatable. By following these tips as a homecare worker or a care management staff, you will ensure your safety and quality of life and that of your clients.
Collaboration and effective communication between homecare workers and care management staff are essential to create a comprehensive suicide prevention strategy within a home care agency.
CABS Health Network and its partners are committed to helping clients and individuals with mental health issues recover. For more information, speak with us today.
Save someone from committing suicide today. Take action! Call or text (988) to save a life.