Suicide prevention training set for June

Moffat and Routt counties have high suicide rates and local mental health centers are taking steps to break the cycle.

A two-day intensive suicide prevention training is scheduled for June 15 to 16 at a location yet to be determined for community members interested in the training.

Tom Gangel, division director for Craig Mental Health, said the training, led by Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide, is open to anyone. It is especially useful to dispatchers, teachers, counselors and agency personnel that deal with the public and encounter people with depression.

"We hope to get members comfortable in dealing with depressed individuals and recognizing symptoms in time to intervene," Gangel said. "We are always trying to raise awareness before someone makes that final, fatal decision."

One-half of the course is training for everyday people and includes role-playing practice with trainers to help individuals recognize the symptoms of a severely depressed person. Training also includes linking those depressed people with professional caregivers to break the cycle of depression with medications and counseling.

Gangel said 90 percent of the suicides in the country occur after a long-term depression, and intervention by a professional can cut those numbers.

Some residents of Routt and Moffat counties suffer from a condition known as seasonal affective disorder, caused by a lack of sunshine during the winter, Gangel said. More suicides come in the spring and fall, when the depressed person realizes that the changing season is not helping his or her depression.

For information about the training session, or to register, call Sara Ross at 879-2141.

Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207, or dolsen@craigdailypress.com.

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