Lectures to focus on suicide prevention

Coordinator: Attempts nearly have doubled since last winter

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Past Event

Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide speaker series

  • Thursday, January 15, 2009, 6 p.m.
  • Yampa Valley Medical Center, 1024 Central Park Drive, Steamboat Springs
  • Not available

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— With dim economic outlooks and gray skies, Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide decided a speaker series on suicide prevention would be appropriate this winter.

Routt County Suicide Prevention Coordinator Lisa Foley said the number of suicide attempts and completed suicides this season is nearly double the reported numbers for last year - and experts expect it to get worse.

In response, Steamboat Springs Mental Health Center will host speakers every third Thursday of the month until April to discuss suicide-related topics.

"We're proud to sponsor this speaker series. We in the suicide prevention meetings feel that this winter, for some reason, is going to be a worse suicide rate than winters before," Foley said. "We have a gut feeling that if the economy doesn't get better, if people don't stop losing their jobs, it's going to get worse."

The discussions are geared toward law enforcement, victim advocates, health care workers and survivors.

During the first presentation Jan. 15, Addiction Counselor Erika Schmitz will discuss how people become addicted and the connection between addiction and depression.

The presentation, titled "Addiction: The Symptom, not the Problem," will include a lecture on the topic followed by a question-and-answer session for attendees, Foley said.

Tom Gangel, rural county division director based in Steamboat Springs, will speak about a topic to be determined later. In March, the group is hosting Susan Linwood, executive director of Western Colorado Suicide Prevention Foundation.

Linwood, who has spoken internationally about the subject, will discuss the causes of suicide and ways to prevent suicide.

In April, Kristen Chamberlain, a social worker in the local mental health office, will talk about how suicide affects the family.

Foley said Chamberlain is suited to discuss the local ramifications because she is working with two families who recently have experienced suicide in Routt County.

"When the weather is gray and people don't see sun for a while, and they're losing their home and lost their job and their car is being repossessed, it can be a lot," Foley said.

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