Suicide prevention course Friday, Saturday |

Suicide prevention course Friday, Saturday

Christine Ina Casillas

When it comes to crisis, some people, generally girls, turn first to people who they’re comfortable with.

Depression and suicide have become pretty common, said Beth Reilly, director of the Eagle River Youth Coalition.

Nationally, one in 17 people have had thoughts of suicide, Reilly said.

“Suicide prevention is a priority of ours, and it’s a big problem among high school girls.”

Local surveys showed that 15 percent of local high school girls have tried to commit suicide, she said. That number is higher than the national report, “which is why it became a problem.” The national report showed 11 percent of high school females have attempted suicide.

The survey also showed 30 percent of the county’s youth have shown symptoms of depression.

The survey was done by the Eagle Cares program, a high school attitude and behavior survey with students participating from Eagle Valley, Battle Mountain and Red Canyon high schools.

“Suicide attempts – that’s pretty real,” she said. “That’s people who are making an effort to do it.”

The youth coalition, in collaboration with Colorado Mountain College, is offering a suicide ideology and depression workshop Oct. 24 and Oct. 25 to help prevent suicide.

“It’s about being better friends,” Reilly said, “just learning to be a better friend.”

After volunteers take the suicide intervention skills workshop, they will have some experience to bring “a person back to a safe place,” Reilly said.

“Whether it’s physically or consciously bringing them back to a safe place,” she said, “these folks will be able to to talk them through it.”

The training program is through Living Works out of Canada, a widely used training for suicide prevention, she said. During the training program, Reilly gives a 90-minute presentation about suicide and depression.

“It’s not a replacement for the program, but a way to get the information out there,” she said. “There are so many people who are so depressed that they consider suicide. We want to make people aware that this is a common problem, and it is treatable.”

But she said people who feel suicidal or depressed need to tell someone before they act on their thoughts.

“Suicide ideation and attempts are not as uncommon as people think,” she said. “People think that Kobe Bryant’s alleged victim is suicidal, but she’s not the only young adult who’s considered suicide or tried it.

“We don’t want to encourage it, but it’s not the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to someone. It’s very common.”

Christine Ina Casillas can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or at

At a glance

Suicide prevention workshop

A two-day workshop on applied suicide intervention skills training is scheduled for Oct. 24 and Oct. 25 at Colorado Mountain College. The workshop is worth one credit. Youth participants can take the class for free.

For more information, call 328-6304.

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