Community Connections: Arm yourself with the skills to prevent suicide
So far this year in Routt County, we have had zero suicides, and I’m hopeful we will keep it that way. With a 30% decrease in suicides in 2017 and 2018, Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide is committed to combating death by suicide with increased awareness, education and training for our community.
Preventing suicide isn’t just something for medical health professionals;, we can all do our part to keep our community safe.
There is no single cause for suicide. Suicide most often occurs when stressors exceed the current coping abilities of someone who is suffering from a mental health condition.
Depression is the most common condition associated with suicide, and it is often undiagnosed or untreated. Conditions like depression, anxiety and substance misuse increase someone’s risk of suicide, especially when untreated.
Individuals and communities typically take significant action on suicide prevention only after a tragedy. But when communities focus on prevention, it can make a real difference, and we are seeing that impact here in Routt County.
In 2018 and so far in 2019, we are witnessing an upward trend with our local businesses, schools and nonprofit groups providing education and training on mental health and suicide prevention. The culture is changing, and we are seeing mental health become a priority in our community, diminishing the stigma that has been associated with suicide for many years. We need to talk about depression and anxiety similar to how we talk about our other health-related issues or injuries.
One of the tools that local organizations and business can provide to educate their staff on suicide prevention is a free training on QPR, which stands for question, persuade, refer. The short training empowers individuals to save lives by focusing on three skills.
• Question a person about suicide
• Persuade a person to get help
• Refer the person to the appropriate resource
What: Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 23 and 24
Where: UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center, 1024 Central Park Drive
Cost: free, includes lunch
Register: contact email@example.com or 970-846-8182
QPR is not intended to be a form of counseling or treatment but rather to offer hope through positive action. QPR teaches the warning signs, clues and suicidal communications of people in a crisis situation and prevent a possibly tragedy. The fundamentals of QPR are easily learned and, like CPR, may save a life.
In 2018 in Routt County, REPS saw a 90% increase in QPR training requests. We can partially attribute our local decrease in suicide rates to the education and awareness our community members are receiving.
In addition, REPS offers a more in-depth course in suicide prevention called Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training. ASIST is a free, two-day certification that focuses on practical information and skill building for anyone seeking to learn what to do or say when someone they know or love might be having thoughts of suicide. This interactive program includes lecture, discussion, videos, simulations and skills practice.
I’m proud of the hard work our community has done to help reduce suicide and hope we can continue this momentum through the rest of 2019.
By the numbers
• Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and seventh leading cause of death in Colorado.
• On average, one person dies by suicide every eight hours in Colorado.
How to help
Suicide can be prevented. Fortunately, there are many local and state resources available to assist you and your loved one in a time of crisis.
Colorado Crisis Services: 1-844-493 8255 or text TALK to 38255
MindSprings Health crisis line: 1-888-207-4004
Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide: 970-846-8182
For anyone interested in hosting or attending a QPR or ASIST training, contact REPS at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-846-8182.
Mindy Marriott is the executive director of Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide.
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