Aetna Better Health of Florida Leads the Way for Suicide Prevention Month

  • Aetna Better Health of Florida Raises Awareness of Suicide Prevention Month Through New Collaborative Partnership with The QPR Initiative
  • The initiative offers the public a series of “Ask, Persuade and Refer” training courses to help providers, practitioners and social workers assess and identify suicidal ideation and symptoms of troubled mental health in patients.
  • Courses aim to provide broad assessment skills in a variety of settings, including schools, home environments and primary care offices

Aetna Better Health of Florida is bringing attention to its mental health resources during Suicide Prevention Month, working to identify and address idealizations of self-harm statewide.

According to the Florida Department of Health, 3,113 suicides occurred in Florida in 2020, a population-adjusted percentage higher than the national average. Although the total number of suicides in the state has declined year over year since 2018, Florida still faces a pressing problem that is proving increasingly difficult to solve.

To alleviate the crisis and build support for mental health in the state, Aetna Better Health of Florida is partnering with the QPR Institute to help train and prepare practitioners, responders, and providers to assess and identify adequately people at risk.

The specialized course is open to anyone who seeks it and trains participants to “question, persuade and refer” patients to needed resources.

“Under the Aetna umbrella, we offer QPR training, for Question, Persuading and Refer, and we’ve opened it up to the public,” said Patricia BabcockSenior Principal Clinical Lead at Aetna in an interview with The Capitolist. “I have personally provided a list of providers that we can contact to ensure we are completing these classes. The ability to train providers and ensure they are able to recognize the warning signs and providing hope through support services and knowing where to get that help will be essential.

Aetna is also working to integrate physical health analysis with mental health to offer comprehensive and comprehensive screening for patients.

“I think it’s all the layering of what we do. I call it behavioral health. Behavioral health is both mental health and addiction, but we also know there is a correlation with each individually with thoughts of suicidal idealization,” Babcock said. “How do we integrate physical health with behavioral health or mental health? [We need to] using our primary care providers to really make sure we screen and assess for suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

QPR training aims to step into new spaces, especially those where children and young adults have harmful feelings. A mission of rapid identification and assessment of symptoms of mental health problems.

“On the other side of the coin is that QPR training and the tremendous impact it has at home. You know, you think where does suicide prevention really start? It starts at the home, in schools and in our primary care providers,” Babcock said.

Last year, Aetna announced the development of a network of specialist providers focused on suicide prevention in conjunction with Psych Hub. The association provides practitioners in the network with free, evidence-based instructions, tools and resources to identify and treat those at risk of suicide.

In addition to this network, Aetna uses suicide prevention screening and safety planning for all members seen by clinical staff, even if they do not present themselves as “at risk” and offers several specialized evidence-based suicide risk reduction as outpatient resources available. Aetna also continues to be the only health insurer to send thoughtful contact postcards to the “contact base” with members who have been discharged from a hospital stay following a suicide attempt with messages to let them know that they are valued and that support and resources are available to them.