Tuesday, October 7, 2014

National Depression Screening is October 9th

Public Encouraged to Get “Check-up from the Neck Up!”

Denver, Colorado. October 3, 2014. October 9th is National Depression Screening Day! Knowing that 90% of people who die by suicide have some mental health condition – most often depression – an important component in “upstream” suicide prevention is regular mental health screenings.  Screenings are one of the best low cost, high impact tools a workplaces, schools and health organizations can offer.  Just like we screen for high blood pressure and cholesterol, we can also screen for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Screening helps us identify emerging problems early in their course of development and link people to resources to treat these problems before they become insurmountable.

To get free tools and media assets to help spread the word about this event visit: http://mentalhealthscreening.org/programs/ndsd

To take your own depression screening visit: http://helpyourselfhelpothers.org/

CEOs and Community Influencers Engage in Suicide Prevention Forum

6th US/Canada Forum on Workplace, Mental Health and Productivity in Denver

Denver, Colorado. October 4, 2014. This past Friday, the 6th US/Canada Forum on Workplace, Mental Health and Productivity was held in Denver, Colorado, hosted by tw telecom, the Carson J Spencer Foundation, and Mental Health International. The theme for this year's Forum was unprecedented: how employers can make suicide prevention a health and safety priority. Almost 70 CEOs and high level community influencers participated in this five-hour Forum including top representatives from RK Mechanical, the U.S. Postal Service, Wells Fargo, Bank of the West, Denver Fire Department and Level (3).

Governor Hickenlooper welcomed the esteemed guests and applauded their efforts in taking the time to expand their knowledge and the willingness to take what they learn back to their networks.  “Suicide affects three families per day in Colorado and Colorado is consistently one of the 10 highest states in suicide rates.  The first step in prevention is creating an environment where people can talk about it, including the workplace.  Our goal is to build support, and the workplace provides a huge opportunity for prevention efforts.”

Host and CEO of tw telecom Larissa Herda shared her own experience around family members who have had struggles with mental health illnesses that have led to suicide.  She also echoed the Governor’s hope in seeing the workplace as a safe environment for people to feel like they have support and can access help.  “Through sharing my own story, I have opened the doors for others in our company (tw telecom) to share theirs.”   

The conversation that took place among participants demonstrated genuine interest in understanding leaders’ role in getting upstream from the crisis of suicidal behavior. They understood both the human and economic costs of suicide deaths and attempts and wanted to know more about the strategies involved in preventing or alleviating that level of despair and isolation. International mental health and suicide prevention experts from all over the U.S., Canada and Australia shared several leadership and programmatic tactics that have been shown to improve outcomes such as strategic communication, skill training, mental health resources, and more. Additional presenters included U.S. Army General Peter Chiarelli (Ret), Colorado Senator Linda Newell, and former NFL player Dwight Hollier.

“We need to promote the human dignity of people living with mental health conditions. The opposite of isolation is connectedness the opposite of despair is hope, as leaders and organizations you can help create these protective factors in the workplace.” Eduardo Vega – Executive Director, Mental Health Association of San Francisco

“Why do we not talk about mental health in the workplace? Myths and Stigma.  Business leaders are our community gatekeepers, but are often not trained appropriately.  There is no way to break stigma through silence.  Business leaders are often champions of a cause, and have the ability to create significant change.” Joel Bosch – Chief Operating Officer, eCD Market

As indicated by requests for follow-up, the momentum from this event promises to be great. The energy was palatable as these leaders left to go back to their busy lives; their hearts were moved with a relevant call to action, and they were equipped to begin a road map for next steps.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Reducing Access to Lethal Means and Preventing Youth Suicide

Colorado Researchers Present Innovative Approach at Public Educational Session

Photo from Flikr by Artist Greta Ceresini
Denver, Colorado. October 1, 2014.  While access to fire arms is a politically-charged issue in the U.S., the fact remains that in a recent study of firearm suicides among youths ages 17 and under, 82% used a firearm belonging to a family member, usually a parent. Most efforts to prevent suicide focus on why people take their lives; but the suicide prevention field has become increasingly interested in the fact that how a person attempts suicide plays a key role in whether they live or die. For this reason, reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal means is an important part of a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention.

To highlight how this approach is being implemented in Colorado, the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado is hosting an educational session on October 8th to learn about a means restriction education program at Children's Hospital. Amy Becker from Children's Hospital and Sara Brandspigel from the Colorado School of Public Health and Environment will present on this innovative suicide prevention program designed to restrict adolescent access to firearms and lethal medications. Preliminary findings will be presented and attendees will learn how the program may be adopted in other hospitals in Colorado.

This educational session is free and open to the public and will take place from 9:30-10:30 on October 8 at The Trails Recreation Center (16799 E Lake Ave Centennial CO 80016). Participants may call in at 712-432-0370 access code 597856#.

For more information about this event, please contact Jarrod Hindman at jarrod.hindman@state.co.us or 303-692-2539.
For more information about how restricting access to lethal means is an effective suicide prevention strategy visit: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/means-matter/
For more information about how restricting access to lethal means is an effective suicide prevention strategy visit: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/means-matter/

About the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado: The Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado (SPCC) was formed in 1999, when concerned citizens set out to create a statewide agency with the purpose of preventing suicide and creating a resource network for those who were working to prevent suicide around the state. Today, SPCC’s membership of concerned agencies, organizations and individuals who are working in the areas of suicide prevention, intervention and postvention has statewide reach. The mission of the SPCC is to reduce suicide and its impact for all Coloradans through advocacy, collaboration and education. www.suicidepreventioncolorado.org