No suicides in 2017 has REPS director ‘hopefully optimistic’
The good news for Mindy Marriott, executive director of Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide, is that there have been no deaths attributed to suicide in the first quarter of 2017, but she said that fact won’t stop, or even slow, the work her group is doing to combat suicide.
“We are proceeding with hopeful optimism that what we are doing is making an impact,” Marriott said. “We just have to continue the momentum. As long as we can continue that momentum, we will be making an impact in both Routt and Moffatt counties.”
Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg said it is rare to go an entire quarter without a suicide, especially in Northwest Colorado, which has one of the highest suicide rates in the state. Ryg said the recent statistic is encouraging, and it’s a trend he hopes will continue.
“It’s rare for our area to have periods like this,” Ryg said. “I would like to say they are not rare, but that just isn’t the case.”
Routt County has averaged more than six suicides a year from 2008 to 2015. That included 11 in 2010 and nine in 2008.
Ryg said that in many cases of suicide, family members,and friends never suspected the person was thinking about suicide. But in same cases, Ryg said a person may have made multiple attempts, which is where the REPS programs are particularly useful.
REPS will be expanding its programs this year to include a new teen support group to provide peer-to-peer support for young people dealing with loss from suicide. Marriott recently attended a two-day training in Denver to become a facilitator for such a program. She hopes to get a local support group started by the end of the summer.
Marriott is REPS only full-time employee, and the organization relies heavily on volunteers to operate its programs, which include a 24/7 hotline (970-846-8182), the Suicide Prevention Advocates program at Yampa Valley Medical Center, ASIST and QPR training, a depression/bi-polar support group and a Heartbeat Survivor Support Group.
“We have outreach programs in both Routt and Moffatt counties,” she said. “But there are still people who are not aware that we are out there. REPS has so many incredible programs. The group uses funds and grants to train volunteers and to respond to local emergency rooms when they are contacted by health officials.”
Marriott said REPS is always looking for more volunteers. The volunteers must go through a two-day training program, and those programs are offered a couple of times each year in both Routt and Moffatt counties. There are also other volunteer opportunities for people who want to help but may not want to be a part of an advocacy program including fundraisers like the REPS barbecue and the Tour de Steamboat.
“I knew when I took on this position it was a big, big job,” Marriott said. “I’m just starting to get my hands in everything both on a local and a state level as well. My goal is to bring resources and education to the community.”
<em>To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email <a href=”mailto:jrussell@SteamboatToday.com”>jrussell@SteamboatToday.com</a> or follow him on Twitter <a href=”https://twitter.com/Framp1966″>@Framp1966</a></em>
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