Suicide prevention training leaders seeking participants


Fifteen area residents have signed up for a two-day training session next week, which will focus on educating the public about suicide and prevention.

That's about half as many people as organizers would like to attend, said Tom Gangel, a member of the Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide. REPS is a Yampa Valley coalition focused on helping to reduce or eliminate the area suicide rate of one per month.

"We want to impact as much of the community as we can," said Gangel, a division director for the Craig Mental Health Center.

"It's a nice experience, you learn a lot," Gangel said. "Anyone who is interested is welcome. It's a little growth-oriented experience."

Fifteen more openings are available for the session, dubbed Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). The training session is scheduled for June 15 and 16 at Craig City Hall.

It is free and open to the public.

On Thursday afternoon, organizers of the training session met with local volunteers to iron out final details for next week's sessions.

Sara Ross, suicide prevention coordinator, described the session as "for the layperson, the family member, the friend or the neighbor."

"It's based on the belief that people aren't always going to call mental health when depressed or suicidal," Ross said. "The No. 1 person on your list might not be us. ... This gives people an opportunity to assess the risk and help that person get treatment."

Ross said REPS has launched a media campaign to address people contemplating suicide. She specifically cited a local advertisement that implores people against considering suicide as an option.

What: Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide (REPS) training sessionWhen: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday and June 16Where: Craig City Hall, 300 W. Fourth St.Fifteen spots are open. Those who wish to participate need to register by Wednesday. For more information, call 879-2141.

"Is this the only answer?" Ross said, reading the ad. "No. This is not the right answer."

Those who wish to attend next week's session need to register by Wednesday. They should contact either Gangel or Ross at 879-2141.

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