The Oregon OCCAP Executive Council won the AACAP Catcher's in the Rye Humanitarian Award for their work towards reducing suicide rates in Oregon youth, among other advocacy initiatives. The Award is given to individuals, groups or committees who make contributions on behalf of children.
Some of the reasons Oregon was nominated, as written by Kirk Wolfe, MD:
"Child psychiatrists in other parts of the U.S. may not be aware that some of our country's highest youth suicide rates occur in western states. Oregon child psychiatrists have played a very active role in Oregon's suicide prevention efforts, dating back to 1996, when two of our child psychiatrists became involved with the Governor's Task Force on Youth Suicide Prevention.
At that time, we were consistently in the top ten states for the highest youth suicide rate, ages 10-24, approximately 30% above the national average. The Task Force became an opportunity to look at the scope of the problem of youth suicide in Oregon, as well as looking at solutions to prevent suicide in our youth. In addition to sharing our expertise, this became an opportunity to develop relations with Oregon youth and families, as well as others similarly committed to helping save lives of our youth.
This also became an opportunity to help our Council further develop leadership in Oregon and become a more cohesive council. Since 1996, Oregon child psychiatrists have been directly involved in the following youth suicide prevention efforts:
…. served as chairman of Oregon's first Youth Suicide Prevention Conference in 1997
…. involved in meetings throughout the state in 1998-9, leading to the development of Oregon's first "The Oregon Plan for Youth Suicide Prevention: A Call to Action", published in 2000
…. developed a successful suicide prevention brochure in ~2001 to help Oregon teachers ("What Every Teacher Should Know About Preventing Youth Suicide") recognize when students are clinically depressed and at greatest risk for suicide (see teacher brochure attachment). This brochure has had multiple printings and was subsequently adopted in Washington state and Virginia, as part of their respective states' suicide prevention efforts.
…. developed a very successful suicide prevention brochure in 2004 to help Oregon parents recognize when their struggling, defiant child suffers from depression and at greatest risk for suicide, as well as learn important aspects to treatment ("How Parents Can Look, Listen, Help: Youth Suicide is Preventable"). This brochure has had multiple printings and subsequently printed in half a dozen languages. (See parent brochure attachment)
…. developed a successful suicide prevention brochure in 2006, working with representatives of half a dozen Oregon colleges and universities, to help the parents of college students learn to recognize when their child was at increased risk for suicide (see college parent brochure attachment).
…. developed the Suicide Prevention Communication Checklist, which focuses on primary care and mental health providers communication with youth and family members to address and prevent high risk situations (see www.occap.org/suicide-prevention-communication-checklist )
…. served on committees to help develop Oregon's Youth Suicide Intervention and Prevention Plan, published in 2015 …. worked with the Oregon Pediatric Society's (OPS) START program to help pediatricians address their patients' struggle with depression, substance abuse and suicide
…. serve on the Oregon Alliance to Prevent Suicide, a multi-discipline, statewide effort to improve connections of groups working to prevent suicide
…. wrote supporting documentation leading to the passage of SB 48 in 2018, legislation to support continuing education on youth suicide prevention for healthcare professionals
…. provided numerous presentations in Oregon and Washington schools, hospitals, mental health agencies, pediatric practices, state agencies and family support groups on the issue of youth depression and suicide prevention
These efforts by Oregon child psychiatrists have been substantial, and all done virtually on a volunteer basis, because the need has been so great."
Below is the page in the AACAP Honor's book that describes the award, to view the entire 2018 AACAP Honor's Book, visit the AACAP website.