Watch: Hope Center’s suicide prevention ‘Hopeline’ available to anyone, anywhere, anytime

suicides statistics in Garfield country colorado
Statistics provided by Garfield County Public Health.

Although technically called the Aspen Hope Center, Executive Director Michelle Muething, LPC emphasized that the nonprofit’s numerous crisis services extend to anyone from anywhere.

In 2009, the Depression Center in Denver conducted a roughly nine-month long analysis that identified gaps in mental health services.

“The Hope Center is a product of that research study,” Muething said of the Aspen Hope Center, which was founded one year later in 2010. “Our focus is crisis; that was the biggest gap that was found — access to mental health services in times of immediate need.”

Local crisis support 

The Aspen Hope Center’s “24-Hour Hopeline,” one of its numerous services, guarantees that anyone experiencing a crisis can speak with an on-call clinician around-the-clock, seven days a week.

“They’re amazing,” Muething said of the crisis clinicians. “The crisis clinicians are this beautiful blend of therapists, investigators, advocates and grief supporters, and they do whatever is called for on scene in order to mitigate the crisis that they are standing in front of.”

Suicide statistics in Garfield County

Since 2015 in Garfield County, 58 people died by suicide, according to Garfield County Public Health. Additionally, 27 percent of those 58 people suffered from anxiety, 47 percent were diagnosed with depression, and half told someone they were considering suicide.

“If someone makes a statement about wanting to die or specifically says, suicide in general, never brush it off,” Muething said.

“For someone to actually speak those words, there is a reason behind it,” she said. “You find a lot of people will say, ‘Well, what if it’s just for attention?’

“And my answer is, if someone has to speak those words to get attention they are in a lot of pain.”

Also according to Garfield County statistics, of those 58 lives lost to suicide, 83 percent were men, 17 percent were women and 53 percent used a firearm.

Muething said that over the last eight years, the Aspen Hope Center had formed tight partnerships and co-response protocols with local law enforcement.

The efforts allowed professionals from the Aspen Hope center to go out on scene, many times in peoples’ own living rooms, as opposed to being transported in a sheriff’s vehicle or ambulance to the Emergency room.

“And, we prevent an ER bill, because you don’t need to be in an emergency room if you don’t have a medical issue,” Muething said. “We see people at home and are able to link them to services in the community immediately.”

Help Someone Else

The Hope Center has two locations, in Basalt, as well as the Eagle River Valley office in Eagle.

Both receive calls from all over the state, and at times from other parts of the country. Muething stressed how people can call on a friend or loved ones behalf.

“People will say ‘Should I tell them that I called you?’” Muething said of those colleagues, friends or loved ones that call the Hopeline out of concern that someone close to them might take their own life.

“We say, absolutely, don’t ever lie,” she said. “Telling someone that you reached out on their behalf speaks volumes about how concerned you are about them.”

If you or a loved one experiences suicidal thoughts, you can call the Aspen Hopeline at (970) 925-5858.

“There is no such thing as, I am sorry I can’t help you or I am sorry we don’t do that,” Muething said.

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