Open Accessibility Menu

St. John's participates in Zero Suicide initiative

St. John's participates in Zero Suicide initiative

Mental health issues during this era of COVID-19 are more important than ever, and at St. John’s they are treated with the same concern and attention as physical health ailments.

“Now more than ever, the idea of our behavioral health program is to have a holistic approach when treating people,” said Lindsay Long, MSW, LCSW, behavioral health manager at St. John’s Health. “We provide a wrap-around approach to care, so we aren’t just addressing patients’ physical symptoms, we’re helping with their emotional and mental health as well.”

The behavioral health program at St. John’s Health reaches out to those who may otherwise have their mental health needs overlooked. During the intake process, a nurse asks each Urgent Care and primary care patient three questions about depression and suicide, as part of the national initiative Zero Suicide.

“This process has opened the door to many conversations about people’s mental well-being,” said Long. “Recently, several patients said that they have never told anyone about their suicidal ideations and wouldn't have, if they hadn’t been directly asked that day.” Those patients were immediately guided to appropriate mental health services.

The licensed clinical social worker at Family Health & Urgent Care can meet with a patient directly following their in-person or telehealth appointment with a physician or other provider. This “warm hand off” provides a safety net, and helps people get connected right away to appropriate services. The social worker can also provide short-term counseling on topics ranging from stress to sleep to relationships.

The Mental Health Resource Line has been in place for several years and is now seeing an increase in calls, partly due to the COVID-19 crisis. People who call 307.203.7880 will be connected with a licensed mental health professional who can connect them to appropriate services, whether they are for counseling, addiction treatment, safety concerns, or more. People experiencing a mental health emergency should call 911 or the Jackson Hole Community Counseling Center at 307.733.2046.

Mental health concerns, and suicide in particular, are of concern in Wyoming. Wyoming ranked as the nation’s 3rd highest state for people dying by suicide in 2018, according to the CDC. What is less well known is that approximately 50% of those people will have seen their primary care provider within the month before their death, while only 20% will have seen a mental health professional in that period. “As primary care providers, we have an obligation to intervene and make sure we are connecting with all our patients,” said Long.


Media contact:

Karen Connelly, Chief Communications Officer,, 307.739.7380