Dear Ask a Therapist, I recently learned that Colorado has the tenth highest suicide rate in the country. There must be something community members can do to make a difference, but I don’t have the …
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Dear Ask a Therapist,
I recently learned that Colorado has the tenth highest suicide rate in the country. There must be something community members can do to make a difference, but I don’t have the first clue where to begin. What would you suggest?
When researching suicide rates, it can often feel overwhelming and quite alarming. However, educating ourselves on this information reveals important questions such as the one you posed.
In Colorado, there are multiple opportunities for community members to become involved in the prevention of suicidal behavior. I have listed below some of the primary ways in which a community member can make a difference for those that they see are struggling:
Ask the question
It’s a common misconception that if you ask someone if they’re thinking of killing themselves, you’ll plant the idea in their head and possibly increase their risk. Not true.
If you have a loved one who is struggling and you fear they may be thinking about suicide, ask them. This can be an uncomfortable question but ultimately it shows them that it is okay to talk about it and increases the likelihood they will open up to you.
People with suicidal thoughts usually don’t really want to die — they want their pain to stop. If you are equipped with knowledge regarding resources available in your community, you can be that bridge to the resources and support they need to weather the crisis.
Know the crisis resources
There is a state-wide crisis hotline as well as a national hotline and text line. If the individual wants in-person support, there are a number of crisis walk-in clinics through Colorado Crisis Services located throughout the state, and a Behavioral Health Urgent Care right here in Adams County, at 2551 W 84th Ave. in Westminster. They can call the Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 or the National Line at 1-800-273-8255. They can also text 741741 to be connected.
Seek out Mental Health First Aid training
Mental Health First Aid is available for anyone who wants to increase their understanding of mental health and how to support those struggling with mental health issues. The curriculum includes basic training in recognizing signs of suicidal ideation and how to talk to someone you suspect may be considering suicide. It is a full-day course and afterward, you will be a certified Mental Health First Aider.
So, educate yourself on mental health, keep asking questions and help educate others who may not have an understanding of mental illness. When we as a community better understand and empathize with the struggles that our neighbors have, it reduces stigma and the “taboo” of mental illness. This allows those individuals to feel more comfortable in seeking help and getting the support that they need.
Jenna Bogan is the program manager for Community Reach Center’s Behavioral Health Urgent Care in Westminster. Please submit your questions to Ask A Therapist at AskATherapist@CommunityReachCenter.org.
This column is for educational purposes only, and opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.
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