Business Leaders in El Paso County Meet with Attorney General Weiser: “Suicide Prevention is Everyone’s Business”
Colorado Attorney General Announces Support of Community Suicide Prevention and Response Plan
(COLORADO SPRINGS, CO) June 28th, 2022 – The Southern Colorado Business Partnership (SCBP) met with Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser to discuss suicide prevention and other community supports on Friday, June 24th, 2022.
The SCBP is a non-profit which brings together over a dozen area Chambers of Commerce, Economic Development Corporations, the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado and the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, – joining 4,000+ businesses, representing over 140,000 employees – to work collectively in the pursuit of regional betterment, with a shared voice, mission, and focus. Together they work on legislative business advocacy, Colorado Springs business cooperation and collective community partnership.
Cass Walton, Executive Director of the Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention Partnership, and co-chair of the Suicide Prevention Collaborative of El Paso County, presented the data on deaths by suicide in El Paso County, consistently one of the highest rates in the state and nation. Walton shared that there has been a slight decrease in deaths by suicide, however, more can be done including working with business leaders throughout the region.
“Suicide prevention is everyone’s business and together we can bring these numbers down. Businesses can implement formalized suicide prevention and postvention plans and provide employees with trainings, resources, and support,” said Walton.
The Suicide Prevention Collaborative of El Paso County, a project of Community Health Partnership (CHP), was formed in 2019 by community groups, healthcare entities, law enforcement, veteran organizations, and other stakeholders to collectively impact reducing deaths by suicide by 20%.
Attorney General Phil Weiser agreed on the importance of the Suicide Prevention Collaborative’s initiatives with the business community which he said serves as a model in the state.
PJ Higgins spoke on behalf of the Coalition for Prevention Education, Addiction and Recovery (CPAR), another project of CHP, and provided an overview of the connection of substance use, behavioral health, and suicide prevention. The Attorney General’s office and the Latino Coalition for Community Leadership shared the Fair Chance Hiring Platform, a re-entry program to increase employment opportunities for people leaving Colorado’s prison system.
During the National Mental Health Awareness month in May, SCBP launched the Southern Colorado Business Mental Health Partnership whose goal is to communicate resources to the business community.
“Collaborations and conversations, such as the one today, demonstrates the business communities’ support for businesses and employees with behavioral health and suicide prevention” said Jonathan Liebert, Executive Director and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado and SCBP member who took the lead in the development of the CO Business Mental Health Partnership. “It is important that we work together to educate our employees and businesses on this important topic and also let the community know how they can access help and support from the many great service organizations in the city.”
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please contact the Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255 or visit Lighthouse Acute Services, a 24/7/365 crisis walk-in center at 115 S. Parkside Dr., Colorado Springs.
CHP exists to improve the health of the Pikes Peak region. CHP believes that our community is stronger together and serves as the “backbone” organization in a collective impact approach, which allows us to convene and act to improve community health.mCHP has served as the backbone for the Collaborative since its inception in January 2020.
About the Suicide Prevention Collaborative of El Paso County
The Collaborative is an alliance of organizations and community leaders that have a collective purpose to design, organize, resource, and coordinate the implementation and maintenance of a unified strategy using the Colorado-National Collaborative (CNC) framework. The goal is to reduce suicide deaths in El Paso County by 20% by the year 2024.