This story originally appeared in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s 2020 Annual Report. Read more Volunteer Spotlight Stories, and watch videos of each volunteer sharing their experiences.
I am a mental health professional and I work at the largest behavioral health hospital in the State of Illinois. I have been a mental health advocate all of my life. The work we do is so important at the hospital. We are focused on giving people hope, connecting people to resources they need, and building resiliency. We want to send the message that if you’re struggling, recovery is possible.
In the midst of our journey toward providing suicide safer care, I had the opportunity to learn about AFSP’s Project 2025, and got really excited because here was this national effort to reduce the suicide rate in our country 20% by the year 2025, and one of its four main areas was healthcare systems. It was almost like I raised my hand to say, “We’re doing this!” I knew without a doubt that working with AFSP on Project 2025 was something our hospital had to do.
We connected with AFSP’s Illinois Chapter, and planned the first summit of its kind in the nation to highlight AFSP’s Project 2025. We had national speakers come to the Chicagoland area to talk about the four critical areas of Project 2025. It was such a success that many of our partners who joined us in that inaugural summit committed to supporting us in hosting the summit for the next four years, each year focusing on one of the critical areas. Through our ongoing collaboration with AFSP and Project 2025, I am confident that we can reduce the suicide rate and give hope to those affected by suicide.
Watch Tandra share her story
Volunteer Tandra Rutledge talks about providing suicide safer care in a hospital setting, and AFSP’s bold Project 2025 goal to reduce the suicide rate. Learn more about Project 2025.