I promise this is the last time (for a while) I will talk about suicide prevention! But, this is becoming a bigger deal to our district and our state every day. Just a couple of weeks ago, two young people in Moscow took their lives.
This week, I met with administrators of health and welfare, representatives of the Governor’s Suicide Council and representatives of two private foundations working on suicide prevention in Idaho.
What I know for sure:
There is no coordinated effort for suicide prevention in Idaho.
Most can’t even agree on who is in charge. When an effort has no agreement on leadership, I have found participants often work hard, but often duplicate effort. Results are obscure.
There is no agreement on measurable outcomes for suicide prevention activities in Idaho.
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” I really believe that. So, until I see what success will look like if we find it, how can we spend time and your money on it?
An article in the Idaho County Free Press on suicide prevention, inferred that more money was going to be allocated by JFAC for this effort. Not so fast! I sit on this finance committee. I have never found throwing money at a poor organizational structure will solve problems.
Get the business plan first, without money. Then when the money comes, the organization will be able to use it wisely. Give the money first, little fiefdoms are developed to keep the money from somebody else and hoard it for their own. The original objective is lost.
Lots more to learn!