Suicide ‘1st aid’ training planned |

Suicide ‘1st aid’ training planned

Nicole Inglis

Steamboat Springs resident Ronna Autrey knows first-hand the ripple effect caused by suicide.

Her son, who was 31 at the time, took his own life nine years ago.

"I know how it crushed our lives," she said. "Every time I look at my grandchildren, I realize they don't have a father.

"But when you have three suicides in one month like (Craig) had in January, it's a wake-up call. People say, 'Wait a minute.' It isn't just immed-

iate family that's affected by this. It's coworkers, it's neighbors and people at church."

Since the tragedy in her life, Autrey has found ways to give back to the community by training the public to look for and respond to the signs of suicide.

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Now the suicide prevention coordinator for Moffat and Routt counties, Autrey will travel to Craig next week to teach the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training program.

The program, sponsored by nonprofit Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide, will take placed from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m Monday and Tuesday at the Moffat County Public Safety Center, 800 W. First Street.

Breakfast, lunch and snacks will be provided.

The course is free and open to the public, and donations will be accepted.

Autrey said the course can be a vital tool for anyone in the community, from ministers and law enforcement, to anyone who wants to be a resource to those in need.

"The more people that are trained to know what to do if they come in contact with someone who is throwing up all these red flags, the better," she said. "We're not training them to be therapists. It's suicide first aid."

She said there are many therapists, clergymen and medical professionals trained to respond to those with suicidal thoughts.

But, more often than not, they are not the first person to come in contact with someone contemplating taking their own life.

"In fact, it's John Q. Public who usually has that first contact with people who are suicidal," Autrey said. "It might be a friend, neighbor or coworker. There are a lot of troubled people out there."

She said the course is an intense program in which attendees take a look at themselves and their own emotions, and use that power to learn how to intervene with others.

And it's not just up to law enforcement or medical personnel to face suicide.

It's up to everyone, Autrey said, and awareness and training can save lives.

"We train people to show them that maybe they really do want to live and find that little glimmer of hope they can hold on to until they can get professional help," she said. "The more you talk to them, the more you're pulling things out of them that may be important to them.

"Maybe they want to die, but a part of them wants to live. Our job is to find that part that wants to live."

If you go

What: Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training

When: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 26 and 27

Where: Moffat County Public Safety Center, 800 W. First Street

Cost: Free. Donations will be accepted.

• For more information or to enroll in the training, call Ronna Autrey at 875-2941.

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