Some 1.4 million people have attempted suicide. That these numbers count “attempted” suicides is testament to the power individuals possess to prevent suicide if they pay attention to the signs and take swift and appropriate action. When you’re educated, you’re empowered. It’s why Aetna offers several training opportunities to employees, members and communities.
Partnering with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), Aetna has made Talk Saves Lives, an instructor-led or online, self-paced training program, available to all CVS Health colleagues through its Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The digital version, which takes only about an hour to complete and has no need for prior knowledge or experience, is also available to Behavioral Health and Resources for Living members. The training enables learners to recognize signs of suicide ideation and engage in conversations with those appearing at risk or whom they are concerned about.
Many Aetna employees who interact with members as part of their jobs have been trained on a more intensive suicide prevention program called Mental Health First Aid. It’s an eight-hour, in-person course that teaches those enrolled how to spot the signs and symptoms of suicidal ideation and provides evidence-based approaches to intervening. On successful completion, attendees receive a certificate good for three years. In addition, Aetna customers who want to offer the course to their employees as part of their medical benefits can request that inclusion. The training is available virtually, so people can learn Mental Health First Aid from wherever they may be located.
As adolescents and young adults are among the highest risk groups for suicide, Aetna is also partnering with AFSP and other industry experts to offer programs geared toward high school and college students. These programs focus on providing baseline information about the risk of suicide and how students can help their peers by paying attention to warning signs and knowing how to support each other in seeking help.
Finally, Aetna is invested in finding solutions to bring targeted training programs to local communities across the nation to increase awareness and reach the goal of reducing suicide.