Knowing the signs

Suicide prevention group plans awareness events

Recognizing symptoms is the key to preventing suicides, local mental health professionals say. So they are planning events to help community members do just that.

Members of Reaching Every-one Preventing Suicide met Thursday to plan events to inform the public about ways to stop potential suicides, and how to train professionals to work effectively with people with depression.

REPS is setting up a booth at the 9Health Fair on April 29 at Sunset Elementary School. Volunteers will be handing out surveys asking a series of questions designed to test depression levels and form an analysis of the mental health of an individual and the community.

On June 15 and 16, a two-day intensive suicide prevention training class is scheduled to teach skills for intervention and prevention. The training is especially useful to dispatchers, teachers, counselors and agency personnel who deal with the public and encounter people with depression.

Participants will learn to recognize warning signs as well as opportunities to help.

They will learn to offer support and estimate the risk of suicide, and will receive a list of community resources.

During the sessions, students and instructors will engage in role-playing practice, directing a conversation with a suicidal individual toward reasons to live.

The class is for anyone, not just professionals, said Sara Ross, suicide prevention coordinator for Craig Mental Health.

"Suicide touches all of us one way or another," Ross said. "Whether it's a neighbor or co-worker, we could all benefit from recognizing the signs."

The two-day session, Gate-keeper Training Workshop, is at Craig City Hall from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A free lunch is provided, and attendance is requested for both days. The workshop is free, and teachers can get continuing education credit for the course.

For information on the training, call Sara Ross at 879-2141.

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

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