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Coalition offers suicide prevention training

Nonprofit SpotlightKay VasilakisGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

When someone in the community dies by suicide, family members, friends and the community as a whole suffer emotionally. Empowering communities with suicide prevention tools can have a great impact on their general mental health. Getting communities involved is key to reducing suicide numbers.Suicide is the leading cause of injury death in Colorado. More people in Colorado die by suicide than are killed in motor vehicle crashes. Here are some sobering suicide facts: Suicide death rates for males ages 10-18 are almost three times higher than rates for females (for 2002-04 in Colorado). Hospitalization rates for suicide attempts for females ages 10-18 are 2.3 times higher than rates for males. Ninety to 95 percent of people who take their lives have a diagnosable mental health issue.

More school-aged children die of suicide than die from cancer, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza and chronic lung disease combined (National Center for Health Statistics, 2000). The risk of suicide among adolescents involved with either the juvenile justice or child welfare systems was five times as high as those in the general adolescent population. (Farand, Chagnon, Renaud, Rivard, 2004) Eight males and one female committed suicide in Garfield County in 2006. The majority of the males were construction workers and young- to middle-age adults. In 2006, Garfield County had the second-highest suicide rate in the state. Garfield County has had five reported suicides in 2007.The Garfield County Suicide Prevention Coalition is sponsoring an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) session from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. July 19 and 20 at 108 Eighth St., in the county administration building. Lunch will be provided. Participants will receive a certificate. Contact numbers are Sheila Linwood at (970) 683-6626 or Sandra Barnett at 945-6614, ext. 1040.Abby Landmeier and Sheila Linwood will present this workshop, which will teach participants how to recognize that caregivers and persons at risk are affected by personal and societal attitudes about suicide; discuss suicide with a person at risk in a direct manner; identify risk factor alerts and develop safe plans related to them; demonstrate skills required to intervene with a person at risk; and develop an understanding of resources available.Sheila Linwood is a former police officer and is currently executive director of the Western Colorado Suicide Prevention Foundation. Abby Landmeier is a Mesa County Suicide Prevention coalition member and an ASIST trainer.

Warm-up workshops for those who don’t have two days to give are just 90 minutes and can change your life and those who need your help. Kay Vasilakis’ “Nonprofit Spotlight” column runs every other Wednesday. She is the media coordinator for the Garfield County Human Services Commission. To contact her, call 384-9118 or e-mail kvasilakis@postindependent.com.


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