In 2006, suicide ranked fifth on the top 10 causes of death in Moffat County, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Two sessions of Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training are scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 2 and 3 at the Moffat County School District administration building, 775 Yampa Ave.

Hans Hallgren/Photo illustration

In 2006, suicide ranked fifth on the top 10 causes of death in Moffat County, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Two sessions of Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training are scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 2 and 3 at the Moffat County School District administration building, 775 Yampa Ave.

Reaching everyone by reaching out

Upcoming suicide prevention training aimed at reducing suicide deaths

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If you go

What: Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training

When: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 2 and 3

Where: Moffat County School District administration building, 775 Yampa Ave.

Cost: Free. Lunch will be provided both days.

• RSVP is preferred but not required. To RSVP or for more information, call 826-2329.

— Listen, don't argue.

Stay, don't leave.

And, don't attempt to bolster someone who is contemplating suicide by telling them "how great they are," said Tom Gangel, Craig Mental Health Center division director.

"They're not able to hear it," he said.

These interventions may make the difference for someone who is thinking about committing suicide, Gangel said.

An upcoming workshop in Craig is designed to help Moffat County residents apply those intervention skills to real-life situations.

Two sessions of Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training are scheduled to take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 2 and 3 at the Moffat County School District administration building, 775 Yampa Ave.

Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide, a Routt and Moffat county group, will sponsor the event.

Gangel, one of the sessions' two instructors, said ASIST teaches participants various ways in which to help someone who is thinking about suicide.

Those approaches include listening to someone's troubles to calling authorities when that person is at high risk for suicide.

ASIST "is like suicide CPR," Gangel said.

The training includes lectures about the causes of suicide and models for preventing it. The ASIST program also calls on audience members to role-play various situations they may encounter when helping someone who could be suicidal. These activities help trainees become "more comfortable" with using suicide preventions, Gangel said.

Ultimately, the training's aim is to help people find their own paths away from suicide.

"We try to teach people to help someone (thinking about killing themselves) to find their own strengths and realize suicide is not their best option," Gangel said.

Several factors can contribute to suicide.

"Frequently, it's long-standing depression," he said. "They find they can't get their life together."

Depression ranks high on the list for suicide risk. Between 75 and 80 percent of suicides are the result of depression and the inadequate coping skills that come along with it, Gangel said.

Other influences can come into play, including a recent loss.

Whatever the cause, suicide has left its mark in the Yampa Valley.

In 2006, suicide ranked fifth on the top 10 causes of death in Moffat County, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

In that year, eight people committed suicide in Moffat County, the Department reported.

So far this year, several people have attempted suicide but none of those people completed the attempt, said Anngie Jenkins, Moffat County REPS program coordinator.

In Steamboat Springs, Gangel said, four people have committed suicide this year.

In Gangel's opinion, that number doesn't bode well for coming months.

This year "is already shaping up to be a really tough year in the Yampa Valley," he said.

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