Sometimes we get so involved working on an initiative, it’s hard to mark our own progress.
One year ago at this time, Beacon Health Options was still drafting our suicide prevention white paper. In February 2017, Beacon released, “We Need to Talk About Suicide.”
My story is really about one of my daughters.
To protect her privacy as I tell her story, I’ll call her Elizabeth. Elizabeth has had suicidal ideations from since she was about 12 to about 17. At 4 years old, she was misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Perhaps there’s a good reason it took me until late June, LGBT Pride Month, to write this blog.
The fact is, as a gay man in 2017, I don’t feel proud; I feel anxious. As both a clinician and a consumer of behavioral health services, I’m in a unique position to appreciate why LGBT folks are increasingly nervous today.
Suicide has had an impact on my life since I was a young child.
My grandfather completed suicide when I was just 5 years old. I saw the impact on my family from a child’s eyes, but the true depth of that impact wouldn’t come to pass until later in life.
Beacon Health Options is building a lot of bridges to ensure that its members get the quality care they deserve, bridges that span both oceans and mountains.
Beacon has partnered with Ieso Digital Health, a United Kingdom-based firm with a unique digital mental health delivery platform, to provide mental health services for members in Colorado’s Medicaid program, many of whom live in remote rural and frontier areas, stranded from accessible services.
The phone rings, early on a Sunday morning. I’m excited, as it is a childhood friend whom I’m really looking forward to reconnecting with; only she asks me to let my parents know that her brother committed suicide the night before.
No words can describe the pain heard and felt. Of course, as outsiders, as onlookers, our first unspoken questions are “How did this happen?” “How did he do it?”
Thursday, May 4, was National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day whose theme this year, “Partnering for Help and Hope”, rings particularly true with Beacon Health Options.
Highlighting the importance of integrating behavioral health and primary care for children, youth and young adults with mental and/or substance use disorders, the day brings to light the many innovative Beacon programs and solutions that integrate behavioral health and primary care. At Beacon, we view the community as integral to the solution.
The toughest speech I have ever given in my life – and candidly to the most important audience – was not to a room of politicians or colleagues.
Those speeches seem so easy now in retrospect. My toughest public-speaking moment was delivering the eulogy of my son’s very best friend, Adam.