Suicide prevention gets focus from Aspen to Parachute
September 6, 2011
ASPEN – September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, a fact not lost on the Aspen Hope Center and the Garfield County Suicide Prevention Coalition. The two organizations are partnering to offer two suicide prevention trainings every Tuesday of this month at locations from Aspen to Parachute.
The training, QPR, which stands for question, persuade and refer, is a three-step process that anyone can learn to help prevent suicide, according to the Hope Center.
“What I like about these community trainings is they teach you to ask the questions, and the ways they teach you to ask them are so simple anyone can do it,” said Carrie Godes, Garfield County Suicide Prevention Coalition member, in a press release. “I’ve been face-to-face with a friend who later took her own life. What I learned from that experience is that you cannot be afraid to ask the question, ‘Are you thinking about suicide?'”
To date, the Aspen Hope Center has trained more than 1,400 people in QPR, according to Carrie Marsh, vice president for advancement with the Aspen Valley Medical Foundation, which oversees the center.
“Collaborating on suicide prevention trainings felt like the appropriate way to acknowledge Suicide Prevention Month and work together to bring our rates of suicide down,” Marsh said in the press release.
According to the Hope Center, Pitkin and Garfield counties have higher rates of suicide than the state of Colorado, which has the sixth-highest rate in the nation. Most years, Pitkin County has three times the national average rate of suicide, but this year, Pitkin County is seeing fewer suicides than usual. However, rates in Garfield and Mesa counties are higher than usual.
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The Aspen Valley Medical Foundation commissioned a study in 2009 by the University of Colorado Depression Center, which found that historically, a suicide happened every 11 weeks in Pitkin County. The study also offered recommendations to improve and expand the mental-health system in the county. The Aspen Hope Center responded by providing a 24-hour crisis line, mental-health referrals and information, and community education.
This month’s QPR trainings will take place Sept. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at Silt Town Hall and the Basalt Regional Library; on Sept. 13 at 6:30 p.m. at New Castle Town Hall and at 5:30 p.m. in the county commissioners’ chambers in Glenwood Springs; at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 20 at the Carbondale fire station and Parachute Activity Center; and at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 27 at Aspen Valley Hospital and the Rifle library.
To register and for more information, call 544-1241.