Mental Health Partners aims to increase suicide prevention training six-fold in Boulder and Broomfield counties
Daily Times-Call - 9/15/2018
Sept. 15--Mental Health Partners hopes to train 4,098 people in Boulder and Broomfield Counties in suicide prevention methods by December 2019.
The goal comes from a sobering statistic -- 683 people died by suicide in those counties between 2006 and 2016.
"We want everyone to know that in this struggle, they are not alone," said Kristina Shaw, marketing director for Mental Health Partners. "By training six people for every one person who died in that 10-year period, we hope that if someone is having suicidal ideation, there will be someone around them in their lives that is trained and know what to do."
The Be 1 of 4,098 campaign starts this month, to coincide with National Suicide Prevention Month. Shaw said the effort aims to support not just people who might have suicidal ideation, but also to support people who are trying to cope with having lost a loved one to suicide.
As part of the campaign, Mental Health Partners is offering four expert-level trainings to the public -- Question Persuade Refer, which teaches people to recognize the warning signs of suicidal ideation; SafeTALK, which teaches people how to identify and avert suicide risks; Mental Health First Aid, which teaches people how to assist someone in a mental health crisis; and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, which teaches people how to recognize signs of suicidal ideation and to create a supportive and safe plan with someone in a mental health crisis.
The courses range from an hour to two days and cost between $10 and $220 per participant.
Shaw said the nonprofit community mental health center's staff want to train not just 4,098 people in Boulder and Broomfield Counties, but people in different community groups so they can reach people who may not know about MHP's services.
"This week, we're working with (the University of Colorado) to train all their resident assistants -- that's 250 people. It's very exciting to work with these local groups. We plan to train people at churches and we're talking to other influencers in society like schools," Shaw said.
Staff also are working to get funds to translate the training materials into Spanish in order to reach non-English speaking people.
"We're trying to do concentric circles within the community so we can reach people where they're already gathered," Shaw said. "We're working on offering scholarships to groups or individuals who want to be a part of a training ... it also creates the connection between Mental Health Partners and the community because we are a community resource."
The campaign is kicking off with a lecture series aimed at better understanding youth mental health. Teen leaders from Boulder County will discuss mental health issues at the Navigating Teen Depression panel Oct. 17 in Lafayette. On Nov. 1, an epidemiology professor will present on how concussions in youth sports can lead to mental health challenges. Other lecture topics in the series include the effects of drug use and stress.
"We are seeing a lot of pain and concern and parents and educators coming to us and saying 'What can we do?' I think (the recent conversation) started with '13 Reasons Why' and you have the topic of celebrities dying by suicide," Shaw said. "Of course there's social media so everything gets magnified. While we can't get rid of those factors, bullying and others, we don't want them to get to the point where suicide is a possibility and we want to look at the spectrum of prevention."
Karen Antonacci: 303-684-5226, email@example.com or twitter.com/ktonacci
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