When it comes to suicide prevention in Eagle County, we need to take care of one another (editorial) | VailDaily.com

When it comes to suicide prevention in Eagle County, we need to take care of one another (editorial)

You may have read in the Tuesday, March 6, Vail Daily story about Lucas Rivera, the Gypsum man who’s planning to run 240 miles in October.

Rivera will run in the Moab 240, an ulta-endurance race. But Rivera’s running for bigger reasons than just personal achievement. This feat will be a fundraiser for Speak Up, Reach Out, a local nonprofit that provides suicide prevention education and resources for those in need in Eagle County.

That’s a big job. Eagle County’s suicide rate is well ahead of national average.

Suicide prevention is also a key element of the mental health efforts planned for the county’s new excise and sales taxes on recreational marijuana.

Like much of the country, Eagle County is behind in its efforts to address mental health issues ranging from depression to substance abuse to suicide.

But those working on the problems are making a sincere effort.

Money is helpful, of course, but really addressing mental health is a job that requires all of us to be helpful when we can.

Part of that job is making sure as many people as possible know about the resources available to those in trouble.

The Eagle County Schools home page is now dominated by a box giving phone numbers and websites people can either refer a friend or family member to or use themselves.

People can also report anonymously through Safe2Tell (reach them at 877-542-7233).

Part of our job is to tell you about these and other efforts, and it’s a job we take very seriously.

We also take seriously how we report about individuals who take their own lives, especially young people.

The bottom line is that suicide isn’t reported much in these pages. It’s a sensitive topic, and frankly, it’s better to tell stories about how to get help than focus on individual and family tragedies.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has an online guide for reporting on suicide, and it provides sound advice for people working in print, broadcast and online media.

No one really wants to talk about suicide, but it’s important to help when we can. It’s just as important to be responsible in writing about suicide. The challenge is to be sensitive, not encouraging to potential copycats and, most important, helpful.

We can all be more helpful.

The Vail Daily Editorial Board is comprised of Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Krista Driscoll and Business Editor Scott Miller.

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