Iowa Department of Health Awarded $3.5 Million Suicide Prevention Grant

DES MOINES, Iowa -- More than 400 Iowans died by suicide lats year, a number the state hopes to better have under control in the future.

The Iowa Department of Public Health was awarded a $3.5 million  federal grant this week. The money will go towards launching the "Zero Suicide"policy program across Iowa. The program will provide training and resources to behavioral health and treatment centers. State suicide prevention coordinator, Pat McGovern, says the program is a comprehensive approach to encourage a system wide change when it comes to mental health care

" We're really challenging those systems to look at every patient that touches them and making sure their suicide safe with the goal of there being zero suicide," he says.

Local suicide prevention organizations say the statewide collective effort to help those who are mentally ill speaks volumes.

"We know that if we can offer prevention. 90 percent of suicide completions are of those who have a mental health diagnosis and we know that mental health is treatable," says Dr. Jen Ulie - Wells, the executive director of Please Pass the Love.

Suicide is the leading cause of death in Iowa for people ages 15 though 34.