LAS VEGAS – Intermountain Health leadership took time from a recent leadership meeting to gather and assemble Anchor Box Mental Health Kits. The kits are filled with personal messages of hope and resources that can help people needing support for their mental well-being.
Together, the Intermountain Health caregivers assembled 350 boxes that have been delivered to schools, students, and locations that can help youth and young adults in those leaders’ areas. The Anchor Boxes are created by Find Your Anchor, a non-profit organization that has worked to create this message delivery form for suicide prevention, awareness and education.
“Our caregivers are honored to help create resources that may be impactful to someone who needs these messages of hope, and I particularly was very moved by the opportunity to thoughtfully communicate messages of inspiration and comfort,” said Mitchell Cloward, President of Intermountain Health’s Desert Region, which includes Nevada. “Suicide continues to affect our community across the Las Vegas Valley. Our recent Community Health Needs Assessment for southern Nevada identifies mental well-being as a significant health concern, and it is a top priority for us to work with our community partners on increasing access to care. Our collective actions can make an enormous difference in the lives of those at risk.”
Suicide prevention has been identified in all states that Intermountain serves as a top community health need and significant priority. Intermountain aims to prevent suicide partly by integrating mental health with community members’ physical healthcare.
“Addressing the suicide rates in Intermountain’s areas is highly important to us,” said Lisa Nichols, vice president of Intermountain Community Health. “We believe that bringing these messages of hope, combined with the resources can help vulnerable youth in a mental health crisis.”
Intermountain has worked to educate the community members, including health care providers, teachers, first responders, and others, on QPR training (question, persuade, and refer for suicidal risks). A key element is putting time between the crisis and the person at risk and limiting access to lethal means and dangerous medications.
Before the leaders prepared the boxes, they heard from Chris and Martha Thomas from The Defensive Line, who introduced their group and the anchor boxes.
The Defensive Line was founded by Solomon Thomas, a defensive lineman for the New York Jets, along with his parents, Chris and Martha Thomas, who have been spreading the message of suicide prevention after Solomon’s sister, Ella, died by suicide in 2018.
Solomon and his parents have dedicated their lives to sharing Ella’s story and working to end the epidemic of youth suicide, especially for young people of color, by transforming how we communicate and connect about mental health.
The Defensive Line and Intermountain are also announcing a new three-year partnership. The two organizations have been partnering with events since 2022 when Solomon Thomas was a member of the Las Vegas Raiders and grew recently with engagements at Utah State University.
The partnership will bring more opportunities throughout all of the states Intermountain Health serves. This will help further get the vital suicide prevention message to schools, universities, and Intermountain caregivers.
“The Defensive Line is eternally grateful for its multi-year partnership with Intermountain Health. In our joint focus on mental health and suicide prevention in key, marginalized communities, we strive to advance mental wellness by engaging diverse advocates, decision makers, community leaders and influencers to drive whole health for those who are marginalized as well as our communities of color,” said Chris Thomas, co-founder of The Defensive Line.
“The work that The Defensive Line has done has been inspiring, and we are proud to partner with the Thomas family,” said Nichols. “With this new collaboration, we will be able to help spread this important anti-suicide prevention messaging into more of our communities who need it.”
To learn more about the mental well-being efforts of Intermountain and for resources available, visit intermountainhealthcare.org/behavioralhealth. To learn more about The Defensive Line, visit thedefensiveline.org.
If anyone has a need for resources to help themselves or loved ones, there is help with these links. If anyone is in crisis, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988, available 24/7, 365 days a year.