AFSP Helps Fargo Police, Cass County Sheriff’s Office Take Steps to Stop Suicide among Their Ranks

June 20, 2018 |

              Contacts: Alexis O’Brien, AFSP PR Director, 347-826-3577, [email protected]

Sherri Hashbarger, The Village Family Service Center, 701-451-4934, [email protected]

AFSP Helps Fargo Police, Cass County Sheriff’s Office Take Steps to Stop Suicide among Their Ranks

FARGO, N.D. (June 20, 2018) – Four years after a well-known Fargo police officer died by suicide, the local North Dakota Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has made available a solution to help prevent other law enforcement officials from dying by suicide. The AFSP’s Interactive Screening Program (ISP), an anonymous online screening tool, is now being used by the Fargo Police Department and the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.

ISP utilizes an online platform that allows participants to anonymously take a questionnaire for stress and depression. Counselors with The Village Family Service Center’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) review the submitted questionnaires and help connect distressed participants to a counselor and mental health services. The Village’s EAP serves nearly 70,000 employees and their households, including members of the Fargo Police Department and Cass County Sheriff’s Office.

“The Village has a great respect for the men and women of law enforcement who each day go out and put themselves at risk to keep our community safe. It is a privilege to be of service to them,” said Darrin Tonsfeldt, a licensed psychologist and Division Director for Behavioral Health Services with The Village.

“We are honored to be partnering with The Village Family Service Center to offer the Interactive Screening Program to its members. Police officers are accustomed to servicing others, and this is a way for them to ensure they stay healthy and strong,” said Dr. Christine Moutier, AFSP chief medical officer. “Seeking help for your mental health is the brave thing to do.”

The Interactive Screening Program is an online tool offered by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and used by institutions of higher education, workplaces, law enforcement agencies, and EAPs to reach distressed people and help connect them to mental health services before a crisis emerges.

Those who are interested in bringing the Interactive Screening Program to their agency can learn more here: https://afsp.org/isp. To learn more about The Village, visit www.thevillagefamily.org.

About The Village Family Service Center

The Village Family Service Center is based in Fargo and has offices in 15 communities across North Dakota and Minnesota. Its programs and services include counseling, addiction treatment, in-home family therapy, mentoring, adoption services, pregnancy counseling, truancy intervention, financial counseling, employee assistance programs, and business training.

About ISP

The Interactive Screening Program (ISP) is an online program utilized by mental health services at institutions of higher education, law enforcement agencies, workplaces, and Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). ISP provides a safe and confidential way for individuals to take a brief screening for stress, depression, and other mental health conditions, and receive a personalized response from a peer support officer. Since its official launch in 2006, ISP has connected more than 100,000 individuals to mental health services. ISP is listed on the Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s Best Practice Registry for Suicide Prevention. It is also known as the Self-Check Quiz.

About the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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