Improving Leaders’ Comfort and Skill in Supporting their Employees Mental Health
Bryan Health

Suicide Prevention Health Care Workforce Guide In Action Improving Leaders’ Comfort and Skill in Supporting their Employees Mental Health: Bryan Health
Mitigating The Effects Of Job-Related Stressors

Bryan Medical Center is a 640-bed nonprofit, locally owned health care organization that serves patients throughout Nebraska. Bryan Medical Center is part of Bryan Health, whose care reaches patients in parts of Kansas, Iowa and South Dakota in its regional focus. For their work with the AHA Suicide Prevention in the Health Care Workforce Collaborative, Bryan Medical Center chose to address job-related stressors.

The team at Bryan Medical Center administered a pre-survey to leaders throughout the organization in May 2023 to gauge the need for, and interest in, Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) training prior to implementation. The results of the survey indicated a need for training and educating staff on behavioral health in order to improve skill and capability to respond to mental health crises. It also indicated the need for increased knowledge and confidence in accessing the mental health and well-being resources available to the workforce. The survey found that most leaders within their organization have not completed QPR training; furthermore, only 20% reported being familiar with Bryan Health’s policy on suicide prevention and less than half were aware of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. In the surveys, leaders at Bryan Medical Center had expressed that they lacked comfortability and skill when it came to responding to employees who were experiencing mental health concerns. Additionally, they identified a lack of knowledge throughout the organization regarding the policies and procedures in place for employee suicide prevention.

Bryan Medical Center identified eight employees who would become QPR-certified trainers. QPR training courses are designed to train “Gatekeepers” whose role is to recognize the warning signs of suicide and know how to offer help. The eight employees they chose represent different key departments throughout the organization including Chaplain Services, Rural Division, Education, Human Resources, Behavioral Health and College of Health Sciences. The departments identified were the ones most likely to respond or intervene when there is an employee or student in a crisis situation at this organization.

The team at Bryan Medical Center partnered with their director of behavioral health and learned that their intervention was aligned with the State of Nebraska’s Suicide Prevention plan. This realization enabled Bryan Medical Center to secure grant funding to cover their eight employees’ QPR training, as well as QPR booklets for future training. Bryan’s eight–employee team has since successfully completed their training.

Starting in September 2023, Bryan Medical Center has held monthly QPR training sessions for their workforce. Additionally, they will be providing all Lincoln, Neb.-based leaders with QPR training at an upcoming leadership meeting. Once the leaders have completed the training, the team at Bryan Medical Center plans to conduct a post-survey and compare the results with the baseline they determined in May.