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REPS barbecue fundraiser Saturday

Teresa Ristow
Meghan Francone, executive director of Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide, debriefs with students after a simulation at an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training in Craig in November 2015.
Courtesy Photo

If you go:

What: REPS barbecue and fundraiser

When: 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27

Where: Historic Routt County courthouse lawn, 522 Lincoln Ave.

Cost: $15 suggested donation

24-hour crisis support lines

Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide (REPS) 970-846-8182

Advocates Building Peaceful Communities 970-879-8888

Mind Springs Health 1-888-207-4004

Colorado’s Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-844-273-TALK (8255)

Colorado Crisis and Support Line 1-844-493-TALK (8255)

— While Northwest Colorado has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation, many people in the community are unaware when suicides happen, according to leaders with Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide, or REPS.

24-hour crisis support lines

Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide (REPS) 970-846-8182

Advocates Building Peaceful Communities 970-879-8888

Mind Springs Health 1-888-207-4004

Colorado’s Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-844-273-TALK (8255)

Colorado Crisis and Support Line 1-844-493-TALK (8255)

REPS staff and volunteers are aiming to raise awareness of the suicide rate and fundraise for the organization’s prevention training efforts during a community barbecue Saturday on the front lawn of the historic Routt County courthouse.

“We have one of the highest suicide rates in the nation. It’s something that occurs often in our community, and people don’t often hear about it,” said Meghan McNamara, a REPS board member who lost her brother to suicide six years ago. “It’s a very personal mission for me, but I think it’s a very important one.”

Saturday’s barbecue will run from 4 to 7 p.m. and include smoked pork and beef donated from Xcel Energy, corn from Davis Family Farms and desserts from Winona’s, Freshies and the Ore House. Live music will be from the Jesse Christensen Band. Suggested donation is $15.

McNamara said the event will help raise money for REPS programs, including the question, persuade, refer, or QPR, training and the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, or ASSIST.

Once volunteers are trained through the two-day ASSIST program, they are eligible to become SPA volunteers at local hospitals.

“We send ASSIST training volunteers into the emergency department to sit with someone who has either expressed suicide ideation or attempted suicide,” McNamara said. “If the person wants, we’ll follow up with them and provide support.”

According to a study released in April by the National Center for Health Statistics, the United States suicide rate was at a 15-year high as of 2014, the last year for which data was studied.

Five or six people have died from suicide in Routt County for each of the last several years, with the exceptions of 2010, when 11 people died from suicide, and 2015, when seven people died from suicide. Four people have died from suicide in 2016.

The national annual suicide rate is about 13 people per 100,000, and using Routt County’s average suicide rate from 2008 through 2015, Routt County’s extrapolated rate would be 29 people per 100,000, more than double the national rate.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow


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