Valley State Prison (VSP) held its first Suicide Prevention events during the fall — one for staff and one for the incarcerated population.
The Staff Suicide Prevention and Awareness event offered multiple booths and representatives from various organizations, offered resources and support.
There were several booths on grounds from:
- VSP Peer Support
- VSP Mental Health
- Madera County Behavioral Health Services
- Veterans Affairs (VA)
- Mental Health Services
- Fresno Survivors of Suicide Loss (Hinds Hospice)
- Red Cross/VS Service Dogs
- VSP Chaplains
- Benefit Trust Fund
Each booth had members who provided materials and spoke with staff about their programs. All staff on grounds were provided a meal, which was donated by CCPOA, CCSO, and CCWA. This meal was prepared onsite by staff and packaged for delivery to staff unable to leave their post. Lastly, the organizers developed and ran a T-shirt sale, with all proceeds going to a non-profit organization focusing on suicide prevention.
Mental health, suicide prevention for incarcerated
The incarcerated population event was sponsored by the Community Resource Department and VSP Mental Health.
This event began with a food sale with all proceeds donated to a non-profit organization with a focus on suicide prevention.
The event then transitioned into a series of speakers and booths, with a focus on providing education, support, resources and hope for the inmate population and their family and friends.
These booths and speakers were staffed by VSP Mental Health, Madera County Behavioral Health, Fresno Survivors of Suicide Loss (Hinds Hospice), VA Medical Health Services, Red Cross and VA Representatives.
Those attending said they enjoyed the presentations, with many sharing their experiences. They also asked questions. Many said they appreciated the event, volunteering to help with the next one.
Overall the events were a success, with many staff and inmates participating and receiving the support of their peers and their community. The donations, staff T-shirt sales and the inmate food sale raised $2,063.
A donation of $1,022 was made to Hinds Hospice on behalf of the inmate population. Meanwhile, another $1,041 raised by staff and inmates was donated to Veteran Affairs.
VSP plans to continue to hold the events on an annual basis.