Suicide and suicide attempts are a major public health problem in Colorado. Given most recent national statistics, Colorado ties with New Mexico for the sixth highest suicide rate in the country. Nearly twice as many people died by their own hands than in car accidents and almost 80% of those suicides were men. The suicide rate is disproportionately high in Colorado’s rural counties and a new study is investigating the link between high altitude locations and suicide. With Colorado having the highest average altitude in the country this could have profound implications.
KNOW THE SIGNS, UNDERSTAND HOW TO RESPOND,
LEARN THE RESOURCES
Mental Health First Aid is a life-saving course designed to help people help others in times of behavioral crisis.
For more information and to find a course near you, click here.
There are many steps we can take to improve our response to the suicidal and make it easier for them to seek help. Taking these modest steps can save lives and reduce a great deal of suffering.
LISTEN. Give individuals any and every opportunity to unburden or vent. Offer patience, sympathy and acceptance, avoid arguments or advice-giving. You don’t need to say much, just let them know you are glad they turned to you.
ASK IF THEY ARE HAVING ANY THOUGHTS OF SUICIDE. Asking is a good thing and shows that you care, you take the person seriously and are willing to share their pain. If they are having suicidal thoughts find out how far along their ideation has progressed.
TAKE IT SERIOUSLY. Many suicides occur for reasons that do not seem serious enough to others. It is not how bad the problem is but how badly it’s hurting the person who has it. Do not judge, aid.
GIVE & GET HELP SOONER THAN LATER. Suicide prevention is not a last-minute activity. Doing whatever you can to reduce their pain and constructively involving yourself on the side of life as early as possible can reduce the risk. Learn more about your options with Mental Health First Aid.
CONSIDER SUICIDAL BEHAVIOR A CRY FOR HELP. Suicidal persons can be ambivalent, part of them wants to live and part wants not so much to die as to have the pain end. If a suicidal person turns to you they probably believe you are caring and competent. Regardless of the negativity level of their talk, just having the talk is a positive thing.
DO NOT LEAVE THEM ALONE IF THEY ARE ACUTELY SUICIDAL. If the person has the tools or access to things like guns or knives, get rid of them, make the environment safe.
URGE PROFESSIONAL HELP. Persistence and patience may be needed to seek, engage and continue with as many options as possible.
DON’T KEEP SECRETS. Respond to the part of the suicidal person that wants to stay alive. Do not go it alone, seek assistance for the person and yourself, you can do so without breaches of privacy. Distributing the responsibility of suicide prevention makes it easier and more effective.
|In times of crisis, help is available 24/7 in the following counties:|
|Garfield 970.945.2583||Grand 970.725.3311||Jackson 970.723.0055|
|Mesa 970.241.6022||Moffat 970.824.6541||Pitkin 970.920.5555|
|Rio Blanco 970.868.9620||Routt 970.879.1090||Summit 970.668.8600|