Suicide, depression forum encourages community to be proactive |

Suicide, depression forum encourages community to be proactive

Michelle Balleck

Anthony Noble, of A & S Counseling, speaks to Craig residents Thursday night about biological causes for depression and suicidal thoughts. The suicide prevention forum was hosted by Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide and served to present survivor stories and to inform community members.

— In a standing-room-only event Thursday night, nearly 50 parents, police officers, school administrators and teenagers crowded into a conference room at The Memorial Hospital to learn about suicide prevention.

They all seemed to have a similar message: We want to help.

"We went because there's a concern for (suicide) with our youth in the area," said Travis Jensen, assistant principal at Moffat County High School. "We are gaining more knowledge about it and more understanding about it so we can help to prevent it."

The event, the Suicide, Dep­ression and the Grief Process community forum hosted by Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide, was geared toward helping visitors to do just that.

A panel of psychologists and suicide survivors provided information about the causes and symptoms of depression and advice about how to approach a loved one who may be considering suicide.

Sometimes, that includes calling police, who can perform a wellness check on the person, even if they are not open to admitting a problem.

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"There's a choice — mad at me or death," said Ronna Autrey, suicide prevention coordinator for REPS. "I don't care if they're mad at me. I want them alive."

For Jensen, he and other MCHS administrators try to maintain relationships with their students.

"We just have to be vigilant in being visible so the students see us," Jensen said. "We do need to be watchful for the different signals and all the different components of depression.

"Also, having that open door policy, building that rapport so that we are able to see the changes on an individual level."

Autrey said that previously strong REPS efforts in Craig have fizzled and that she hopes that some of Thursday's attendees will enliven those efforts again.

She said one way for community members to be proactive in reducing the suicide rate in Moffat County is participating in the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training program.

Attendees could sign up Thursday to be notified of the next class offering.

"I highly recommend this for those of you who have people in your life who are high-risk," Autrey said. "It's going to give you better skills to deal with them."

Autrey said she was pleased with the number and variety of attendees at Thursday's forum and is hopeful about the progress that can be made in Craig and Moffat County.

"The more educated we are, the more we can go out and maybe save a life," Autrey said. "We can't save them all, and I accept that.

"But I can try, and I accept that."

For more information about REPS, call Ronna Autrey at 846-8182. For immediate suicide help, call 824-6541.

Need to talk?

Call Craig Mental Health at 824-6541 for help.

Warning signs of depression

Changes in activity or energy level:

• Decreased energy

• Fatigue

• Lethargy

• Diminished activity

• Insomnia or hypersomnia

• Loss of interest in pleasurable activities

• Social withdrawal

Physical changes:

• Unexpected aches and pains

• Weight loss or gain

• Decreased or increased appetite

• Psychomotor agitation or retardation

Emotional pain:

• Prolonged sadness

• Unexplained, uncontrollable crying

• Feelings of guilt

• Feelings of worthlessness

• Loss of self-esteem

• Despair

• Hopelessness/helplessness

Difficult moods:

• Irritability

• Anger

• Worry/anxiety

• Pessimism

• Indifference

• Self-critical

Changes in thought patterns:

• Inability to concentrate

• Indecision

• Problems with memory

• Disorganized

Preoccupation with death:

• Thoughts of death

• Suicidal ideation

• Feeling dead or detached

— Source: Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide

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