Valley State Prison (VSP) held its first Suicide Prevention events during the fall — one for staff and one for the inmate 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 and VSP Chaplains, Benefit Trust Fund, SEIU, and CCSO.
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 in a manner that allowed for the 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 with a focus on suicide prevention.
The inmate 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.
Inmates in attendance enjoyed the presentations, in which many shared their experiences and asked questions. A number of inmates also expressed their appreciation for the event and volunteered to help at the next event.
Overall the events were a success, with many staff and inmates participating and receiving the support of their peers and their community. The combined monies raised through donations, staff T-shirt sales and the inmate food sale totaled $2, 063.30. A donation was made to Hinds Hospice in the amount of $1,022.10 on behalf of the inmate population and another $1,041.20 from both staff and inmates to Veteran Affairs. VSP plans to continue to hold the events on an annual basis.