From Northeast Colorado Health Department
Sterling, Colo. – January 8, 2021:Mental wellness and suicide prevention are key public health issues. According to the Colorado Health Information Dataset, suicide is a leading cause of death among Colorado youth ages 10-24. The recent suicides in our region are a reminder that we can all play a part in preventing suicide.
Our culture is often uncomfortable talking about mental health and/or suicide and there is often a stigma associated with asking for help. Suicide is complex and rarely the result of only one cause. There are often a variety of circumstances including relationship problems, financial hardships, chronic pain, bullying or feeling isolated, that contribute to someone feeling suicidal. There may or may not be underlying mental health diagnoses as well. A common response to suicide is to oversimplify the cause.
Life is challenging at times for all of us and no one gets through life unscathed. Resilience or the ability to recover from difficulties, is influenced by several risk factors as well as protective factors in an individual’s life. Local mental healthcare providers, both public and private, cannot prevent suicide alone. Prevention will require the entire community being willing to be a part of the solution. People must have the hard conversations and someone has to listen. Teens need to be able to talk to adults they can trust; a parent, mentor or other adults in leadership roles. It is important that youth, teens and adults have at least one trusted person in their life and we all have the potential to be a good listener for someone in distress.
The first step in being a part of preventing suicide is learning the warning signs or risk factors of suicide as well as learning skills to respond and resources available when someone is struggling. Warning signs can include a loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed, withdrawing from friends or family, or avoiding social activities.
Local suicide prevention resources include Centennial Mental Health Center (CMHC) which is providing community outreach and evidence-based suicide prevention training opportunities to the communities of northeast Colorado. Trainings offered include Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) for adults, teens or youth, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), More Than Sad, and several others. To get more information you can contact Maranda Miller at 970-522-4549 extension 3085 or [email protected].
Additional resources available include Colorado Crisis Services, which offers a personal, confidential support line (844-493-TALK (8255) or you can text TALK to 38255. If you have an urgent concern about you or a friend’s safety, you can report it to Safe2Tell at 1-877-542-7233 or download their app at http://sefe2tellco.org.
Finally, the Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) has the Life Source program that provides professional mental health therapy for youth, ages 19 and younger, who are at risk of suicide. The goal of this program is to remove the financial and social barriers to treatment for families who are uninsured or underinsured and cannot pay for their children to get the help they need. If you or a loved one would benefit from the NCHD Life Source program, or for information on how you can support this program, please contact Sherri Yahn at 970-522-3741 extension 1242 or [email protected].