Eagle County, state suicide prevention programs aimed at intervention, prevention | VailDaily.com

Eagle County, state suicide prevention programs aimed at intervention, prevention

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and candidate for governor announced statewide suicide prevention program. Coffman's announcement comes as local suicide prevention organization Speak Up Reach Out partners with Eagle County Public Health and Environment for a two-day workshop to help participants identify indicators of possible suicidal behavior.
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What: Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), a two-day course presented by Speak Up Reach Out and Eagle County Public Health & Environment.

When: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 11, and Friday, Jan. 12.

Where: Colorado Mountain College, 150 Miller Ranch Road, Edwards.

Cost: Free, but space is limited.

More information: Breakfast, lunch and snacks will be provided on both days. To RSVP, click on “Trainers & Training” and then “Find a Training” at http://www.livingworks.net. For more information, email Sarah Kennedy at sarah.kennedy@eaglecounty.us. Anyone experiencing a crisis, can call 844-493-TALK (8255) and be connected to a trained counselor at a crisis center in their area, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

She cried hard as she stood at the courtroom podium, explaining to the judge why her husband was in jail on Christmas Day.

“I tried to commit suicide. He stopped me,” she said through her tears.

The husband was incarcerated because the call was deemed a domestic dispute, but the judge released him for several reasons, he said, mostly because they’re better together than apart, as are we all.

Speak Up Reach Out, a Vail Valley suicide prevention group, and Eagle County Public Health and Environment are hosting Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, or ASIST.

ASIST teaches participants how to recognize when someone may have thoughts of suicide and how to work with them to create a plan that will support their immediate safety. It’s widely used by health care providers, but participants don’t need any formal training to attend the workshop.

ASIST participants will learn to:

• Understand the ways that personal and societal attitudes affect views on suicide and interventions.

• Provide guidance and suicide first aid to a person at risk in ways that meet their individual safety needs.

• Identify the key elements of an effective suicide safety plan and the actions required to implement it.

• Appreciate the value of improving and integrating suicide prevention resources in the community at large.

• Recognize other important aspects of suicide prevention including life-promotion and self-care. 

Statewide effort

Along with local efforts, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman launched two new statewide suicide prevention initiatives aimed at Colorado’s youth.

“Suicide is not only a mental health, family or school issue, it is a public health challenge and community issue that requires coordinated and comprehensive prevention efforts,” Coffman said. “When a young person dies by suicide, it doesn’t just impact their family or friends; it causes ripples across the community.”

Coffman said Colorado consistently ranks in the top 10 states with the highest suicide rates. More Coloradans die by suicide than by homicide, motor vehicle crash, diabetes and breast cancer. It is the second leading cause of death for Coloradans ages 10 to 34.

Colorado’s Safe2Tell program allows bystanders to call for help by phone, computer or mobile application when they fear for their safety or the safety of others. Generally, callers are immune from criminal prosecution.

“Children’s lives across Colorado have been saved because someone was concerned about them and had the courage to speak up and report that information to Safe2Tell,” Coffman said.

For the past three years, reports related to youth suicide intervention have been the No. 1 type of tip received by Safe2Tell, Coffman said.

During the 2014-15 school year, there were 673 suicide intervention tips.

In the 2016-17 school year, that number grew to 1,742 suicide intervention tips sent to Safe2Tell.

Money and more

The Attorney General’s Office is providing $200,000 to youth suicide prevention programs, which allow up to 40 schools in Colorado to implement the Sources of Strength program, a youth suicide prevention project designed to harness the power of peer social networks to change unhealthy norms and culture, ultimately preventing suicide, bullying and substance abuse.

The Attorney General’s Office will also fund $173,000 to analyze trends and patterns in the fatal and nonfatal suicidal behaviors among young people in the four Colorado counties with the highest rates of youth suicide: El Paso, La Plata, Mesa and Pueblo. The study is designed to determine the best strategies for addressing and preventing youth suicide in Colorado. 

“One suicide is too many,” said stated Sylvia Proud, public health director at the Pueblo City-County Health Department.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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