United Health Services

Screening - Education - Advocacy

Suicide Prevention  


Our mission is to prevent suicide through education, training and community-wide awareness and to offer compassionate grief support, resources to those who have lost a loved one to suicide. We aim to reduce the stigma associated with suicide and to achieve zero suicides in Indiana.



More info to follow:  Walk for Hope - race to Save Lives

Benefitting Suicide Prevention Center a program of United Health Services

Saturday, Oct. 19, 2024, Howard Park - South Bend, IndiaNA           




Nation:  There is a suicide attempt every 10.9 minutes and it is the 11th leading cause of death for all, 3rd for youth-ages 15-24 in the US.  In the US, 6,528 young people died by suicide (USA Suicide: 2021; CDC Provisional for 2023 is at a historical high of 49,449 Total suicide deaths in the U.S. Oct 2023).  Indiana:  On average, 1 person died by suicide every 8 hours or there were 1024 Deaths by Suicide (2020).  Suicide in the 11th leading cause of death for all with Homicides being 16th (2021), 3rd for ages 10-34, 4th for ages 25-44, 5th for ages 45-54, 8th for ages 55-64, and 18th for ages 65+ (2018).  Indiana ranks 23rd in comparison with other states (SAVE 2021).  There were 57 youth (age 19 or less) suicide deaths and 1 in 5 (22%) youth seriously considered suicide in the last year (2021).  150 Indiana Veterans died by suicide (VA-2020).  St Joseph County:  There were 44 suicides in St. Joseph County (SJCCO-2023).  Deaths by suicide can be prevented with awareness and training.   


6x/year, Suicide Prevention for SJCPD new recruits and 2x/year SJC CIT

Apr 7, 2024 Stop 22 Michiana supported Veteran & Adult Family Member Training to Save a Life (QPR Certification). Next training will be late fall

Jun 3, QPR Training/Certification for Staff/Counselors, YMCA, Camp Eberhart

Aug 24, QPR Training/Certification, students in the SMC Masters in Social Work

Aug 24, 2024 Trudat Ministries is hosting a concert in Stevensville MI to emphasize student prevention for the Berrien Co Suicide Prevention Coalition and the UHS-SPC.  More information to be posted.

Sep, 2024 in Suicide Prevention Month, Week (Sep 10-16), and Day (Sep 10) where we hope to pursue information of special interest to reduce the stigma of suicide prevention and offer information for survivors of suicide loss.

Sep 11, 2024 (During Suicide Prevention Mo, Week, and following SP Day), March to the Memorial recognizes 9/11 sacrifices.  See www.marchtothememorial for more information and free registration.

Sep 21, 2024, 9:00 am, Howard Park, South Bend, IN, Walk Out of Darkness.  Contact: POC Angie Pickenpaugh picnpaw93@yahoo.com and register at: ,https://supporting.afsp.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=9234

Oct 19, 2024, Race to Save Lives/Walk of Hope, Registration 9:30 am Ceremony & Walk at 10:00, Support Group 11:00 am, Howard Park, SB,   https://runsignup.com/Race/IN/SouthBend/WalktoSaveLives

Nov 23, 2024, You Are Not Alone Remembered Our Loved Ones Together, sponsored by the Suicide Survivors Support Group, 10:30-12:00n, at St. Peter Lutheran Church, 437 E. Dragoon Trail, Mishawaka.  If you are interested or have questions, contact klaudeman@uhs-in.org

Nov 23, 2024, In-person and Virtual - Indiana Chapter American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, Saturday, November, 23, 20243, 10 AM - 12 PM EST.  One will be able to register for free at isosld.afsp.org/indiana/.  The zoom link will be emailed directly to registered participants prior to the virtual event.  Questions can be directed to Kelsey Steuer & Alice Jordan-Miles: indiana@afsp.org or 317-864-6074.

Training Programs

The Suicide Prevention Center (SPC) offers a wide range of programs to educate, train and prevent suicide. In addition to general suicide prevention presentations tailored to the audience, we offer evidence-based training including:

  • Living Works-safeTALK is a 3.5 hour training that equips people to be more alert to persons thinking of suicide and better able to connect them with further help. This training has been supported by a SJC CARES grant for materials and certificate.

  • Living Works-Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) -- a Livingworks two-day workshop on suicide first aid. ASIST teaches participants to recognize when someone has thoughts of suicide and how to work with them to create a plan that will support their immediate safety. (coordinated via SJC CARES).

  • Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) -- 3 Year Certification: a one or two-hour class that teaches a three-step method for intervening in a suicidal crisis. QPR participants receive the latest information that is reinforced by a QPR booklet and card complete with warning signs, methods to encourage a person to get help and a list of community resources-available via some zoom sessions.  There are free one hour QPR presentations by Eventbrite.    

  • Yellow Ribbon (YR) Suicide Prevention Program (UHS-SPC) --  A Middle School or High School Program that teaches teens that it's ok to ASK 4 HELP and BE A FRIEND and educates youth on the warning signs, risk factors, and making a plan for preparedness.  This Presentation is given in a health class or smaller setting (presentations vary due to hybrid school plans and offerings).  There is a free wallet card and iPhone app.  Google yellowribbon.org for more detailed information.

  • Yellow Ribbon Elementary School Program -- a curriculum that teaches help-seeking behaviors and resiliency in children grades K-5. This age-appropriate curriculum includes hands-on strategies that build protective factors and shield children from risks associated with suicide. By the time the child reaches adolescence, help-seeking behavior is ingrained (presentations vary due to hybrid school plans). Google  YellowRibbon.org for more information.

  • The Jason Foundation:  “A Silent Epidemic.” There are one and two hour trainings sessions as an introduction to the national health issue of youth suicide and provides information about warning signs, elevated risk factors, and other important supporting materials. The training will enable participants to help recognize / respond to at-risk individuals and assist you to create an action plan and resources. There is a free iPhone app. For more information see: https://learn.jasonfoundation.com/courses/                                                                                           
  • Work in Progress:  Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS).  Why the screener?  6 questions or less that asks about suicide ideation, intent, & past behavior leading to a better prediction of suicide risk which can save lives.  Helps determine low, medium, and high risk and steps to be taken at each level.  Developed by the National Institute of mental Health an evidence-supported tool and taught by Stop Suicide NE IN .  Interested in learning more contact Kent Laudeman, klaudeman@uhs-in.org for more details. https://www.hrsa.gov/behavioral-health/columbia-suicide-severity-rating-scale-c-ssrs

    or take a class or on line by Stop Suicide Northeast Indiana https://www.stopsuicidenow.org/c-ssrs-initiagive 

  • On-line for Mental Health Personnel, CAMS:  CAMS stands for the “Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality” (CAMS). CAMS is first and foremost a clinical philosophy of care. It is a therapeutic framework for suicide-specific assessment and treatment of a patient’s suicidal risk. It is a flexible approach that can be used across theoretical orientations and disciplines for a wide range of suicidal patients across treatment settings and different treatment modalities.  See https://cams-care.com for registration and certification,                                                                                                                             
  • On-line:  LivingWorks Start teaches valuable skills to everyone 13 and older and requires no formal training or prior experience in suicide prevention. When you sign up for LivingWorks Start training, you'll learn a powerful four-step model to keep someone safe from suicide, and you'll have a chance to practice it with impactful simulations. Safety resources and support are available throughout the program.  For details, see   https://www.livingworks.net/start and a LivingWorks in-person Safe TALK a 3 1/2 hour program can be arranged.

    On-line:  PSYCH ARMOR:  The Psych Armor Institute presents a portfolio of vital education and information about Suicide Prevention, Intervention, and Post-vention for healthcare  providers, service members, Veterans, families, caregivers and the community at large.  It is free with registration required to access a Digital Toolkit and courses (addressing stigma, crisis response, post traumatic growth/healing/stability after loss, and recently a podcast on resilience.  See:  https://psycharmor.org for details.

  • On-line or In Person Training, NIHCS Veterans Administration S.A.V.E:   S.A.V.E (Signs of suicide, Asking about suicide, Validating feelings, Encouraging Help and Expediting Treatment) is a one hour or plus, gatekeeper training program provided by VA suicide prevention coordinators.  Shorter awareness/information sessions are available.  See on-line training "Be There":  https://psycharmor.org/courses/s-a-v-e/ or contact: Les LeBrun, Mishawaka Program Coordinator (lesley.lebrun@va.gov), or VHASPCIN-610NINSuicidePreventionTeam@va.gov).  The VA also has a VA ACE card (Ask a Question, Care for the Veteran, Escort the Veteran).

  • On-line for Mental Health Practitioners  CAMS stands for the “Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality” (CAMS). CAMS is first and foremost a clinical philosophy of care. It is a therapeutic framework for suicide-specific assessment and treatment of a patient’s suicidal risk. It is a flexible approach that can be used across theoretical orientations and disciplines for a wide range of suicidal patients across treatment settings and different treatment modalities.

  • Mental Health First Aid:  8 hour training offered in Elkhart, virtual courses coming, and newsletter for adults and youth.  "This is a challenging and stressful time. People across the country are reporting high levels of emotional distress because of COVID-19, including feelings of sadness, exhaustion, fear and worry. That's why it is more important now than ever before to make your mental health a priority."   https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/

  • Grief Support  It is often said that when one person dies by suicide, the whole community mourns. A suicide touches all of our hearts and leaves the loved ones feeling shock, numbness, guilt, anger and confusion. Keep in mind that grieving is an individual and unique process; you need to experience it at your own pace and in your own way. One essential part of moving through the grieving process is to reach out to others who have survived a suicide loss.  To help as you journey through the wilderness of grief we have periodic postings to our Facebook page and in our SSSG group meetings.  We have also developed an information sheet of local resources.

  • Suicide Survivor Support Group (SSSG) -- for those who are coping with the loss of someone to suicide. The Suicide Survivor Support Group at United Health Services meets the last Tuesday of the month from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm. This is an opportunity to connect with others who have lost a loved one to suicide and a safe place to share your experiences and emotions in a caring, warm and compassionate environment with people who understand the pain you are feeling. For more information, contact: Kent Laudeman at klaudeman@uhs-in.org (currently by zoom [Mar 2020-current month into 2022] and safely in-person during COVID 19).

  • Suicide Survivor Support Group (SSSG) member, Deanna McCool writes about her survivor loss of her daughter.  Her newsletter entries (8+) can be found at:  https://ourmentalnotes.substack.com/                                                              
  • Local Outreach to Survivors of a Suicide (LOSS), for those who have recently lost a loved one to suicide. A member from our LOSS team (or SSSG), which includes a survivor of suicide loss, will call with the newly bereaved to offer support and resources at this difficult time. Call 574-314-5426 or email klaudeman@uhs-in.org.  Currently working on a team for St Joseph County, LaPorte County, and Marshall County (limited personal contact during COVID 19)

Downloadable Applications

During COVID 19, a number of downloadable telephone applications have been developed and  are available for those experiencing suicide ideation or for those who are coping with being a suicide survivor:  Yellow Ribbon (free),  My3 (free), A Friend Asks (free), PTSD Coach (free), COVID Coach (free), Breathe2Relax (free), T2 Mood Tracker (free), Safety Plan (free), Mindfulness Coach (free), PFA Mobile Psychological First Aid (free), Virtual Hope Box (free), and Calm (initially free then there is a charge), and others not listed here can be helpful.

My Strength is a free mental health on-line or free iPhone app with Focus areas (depression, anxiety, stress, mindfulness, meditation, etc.), Can help (getting inspired, finding calm, being positive, etc.), Life topics (coping with COVID, mental health, caregiving, aging, work, etc.), inspirations (quotes), and tools (track health, sleep, goals & habits). Registration with a user ID and Password are required to use my strength. The registration site/link:  https://www.sjccares.org/mystrength-for-schools-families


We would encourage you to volunteer, be trained to work with young people in schools (Yellow Ribbon Program or QPR) with adults and organizations (Yellow Ribbon or QPR), and become familiar with downloadable applications to your cell phone (MY3, Yellow Ribbon, A Friend Asks, and other applications). Volunteers are also needed for the Race to Save Lives in November, 2021).  If interested, contact Kent Laudeman, Director UHS Suicide Prevention Center, klaudeman@uhs-in.org. 

If you are in crisis

call the National Lifeline 24/7

988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 


If you are in crisis, you can text or chat 988 or text 741741 and type in HELP.  


Hope comes with help!

The Suicide Prevention Center is not a crisis center and does not provide direct services.