Education & Awareness
Suicide is preventable, and it requires that each of us do our part, including knowing how to talk to someone who may be considering suicide and how to connect them with help. For most of us, it can be an uncomfortable topic to discuss, even with those we care about most.
By implementing education & awareness efforts, community members, providers & other professionals will increase their knowledge, skills, beliefs & attitudes about suicide, including the prevention & reduction of attempts and deaths.
All community-based settings at the county level, as indicated by Colorado Dashboard data, with a specific focus on areas where risk/burden is highest. Priority populations include youth, young adults, adults, LGBTQIA2+, Veterans, older adults, and workers in high-risk industries.
Taking a suicide prevention class can be highly beneficial for several reasons:
- 1) Saving lives: Suicide prevention classes provide individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to identify the warning signs of suicide and intervene effectively. By learning how to recognize the signs and provide appropriate support, you can potentially save someone’s life by connecting them to the help they need.
- 2) Increased awareness: Suicide prevention classes raise awareness about mental health issues and the prevalence of suicide. This increased awareness helps to reduce stigma surrounding mental health and encourages open conversations about suicide, making it easier for individuals to seek help or offer support.
- 3) Empowerment: Learning how to respond to someone in crisis can make you feel empowered. Suicide prevention classes teach you how to ask direct questions about suicide, listen actively, and provide a non-judgmental space for someone to share their feelings. This knowledge can help you feel more confident in your ability to support someone in need.
- 4) Building empathy and understanding: Suicide prevention classes often include information on risk factors, protective factors, and the underlying causes of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. This knowledge helps to foster empathy and understanding towards individuals experiencing mental health struggles. It can also help combat misconceptions and stereotypes about suicide.
- 5) Personal well-being: Suicide prevention classes not only teach you how to help others but also provide resources and information on self-care and maintaining your own mental well-being. They emphasize the importance of seeking support for yourself and teach coping strategies to manage the emotional toll that supporting others may have on you.
- 6) Preparedness: By taking a suicide prevention class, you become better prepared to respond to a crisis situation. You gain practical skills, such as knowing where to direct someone for professional help, how to engage in active listening, and how to promote safety. This preparedness can make a significant difference when faced with a potential suicide situation.
- 7) Contributing to a safer community: Suicide prevention classes not only benefit individuals, but they also contribute to creating a safer community. When more people are educated on suicide prevention, there is a greater likelihood of early intervention and support. This can help reduce suicide rates and promote overall mental health and well-being in the community.
It’s important to note that suicide prevention classes are not intended to replace professional mental health services.
Evidence Based Suicide Prevention Training
Recognizing that everyone has a role to play in preventing suicide, we have provided a list of evidence-based trainings, workshops, online learning modules, and resources to meet the specific needs of clinicians, other health care workers, community members, and school staff.
To find an available class, please visit our calendar: https://spcollab.org/events/
QUESTION, PERSUADE, REFER (QPR)
Learn the three steps anyone can take to help prevent suicide. Just like CPR, QPR is an emergency response to someone in crisis and can save lives. QPR is the most widely taught gatekeeper training program in the United States, and more than one million adults have been trained in classroom settings in 48 states. This 1.5-hour class is for members of the community over the age of 16 who want to learn best practices in suicide prevention. This class is also available in Spanish.
Learn how to support someone’s desire for safety by recognizing the warning signs of suicide, identifying people who are at risk, and applying the TALK steps (Tell, Ask, Listen and Keep Safe) to connect a person to suicide first aid resources. Listed on the national best practice registry, safeTALK allows time for both practice and discussion. safeTALK is based on research that shows people experiencing thoughts of suicide often send out subtle invitations to help them stay safe. This four-hour class is for members of the community over the age of 16 who want to learn and practice the basic best practices in suicide prevention.
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)
MHFA teaches how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The course introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health concerns, builds understanding of their impact and provides an overview of common treatments.
Through role-playing and simulations, it demonstrates how to assess a mental health crisis; select interventions; provide initial help; and connect people to professional, peer and social supports as well as self-help resources.
Mental Health First Aid teaches participants a five-step action plan, ALGEE, to support someone developing signs and symptoms of a mental illness or in an emotional crisis:
® Assess for risk of suicide or harm
® Listen nonjudgmentally
® Give reassurance and information
® Encourageappropriateprofessional help
® Encourage self-help and other support strategies
Mental Health First Aid encourages early detection and intervention by teaching participants about the signs and symptoms of specific illnesses like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and addictions.
The program offers concrete tools and answers key questions like “What can I do?” and “Where can someone find help?” Participants are introduced to local mental health resources, national organizations, support groups and online tools for mental health and addiction treatment and support.
Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA)
YMHFA incorporates the above and modified to teach neighbors, teachers, parents, peers, and caring citizens how to help a youth or teen who is experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge or is in crisis.
The course discusses mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and provides guidance through the ALGEE action plan for both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders.
Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) – 2 Days
ASIST is a training program aimed at developing “suicide first aid” skills and competencies. The program is available to anyone seeking to increase the immediate safety of persons at risk of suicide. Since people at risk are often inclined to reach out first to family and friends, ASIST fulfills a “gatekeeper” role that seeks to build and empower a broad network of community helpers.
ASIST also provides those in more formal helping roles with professional development to ensure that they are prepared to provide suicide first aid help as part of the care they provide. The ASIST model involves assessment of suicide risk and the development of a “safe plan,” which provides various options depending on present and future risk, available resources, and the needs of the person at risk. Options include not only referrals to formal mental health services, but also connection to and support from friends, family members, and other sources.
ASIST comprises five progressive components in which trainees gradually build comfort and understanding around suicide and suicide intervention. ASIST participants learn to
1) understand attitudes about suicide;
2) provide guidance and suicide first aid to a person at risk;
3) identify the key elements of an effective suicide safety plan and the actions required to implement it;
4) appreciate the value of improving community suicide prevention resources; and
5) recognize important aspects of suicide prevention, including life-promotion and self-care.
Please contact Nicole Johnston at Nicole.email@example.com for more information.
“Suicide prevention is everyone’s business, and we must work together to develop effective strategies to address this crisis,” Weiser said. “Today’s announcement from the Collaborative is an important step toward saving the lives of some of our communities’ most vulnerable residents. Colorado is at our best when we are working together, and together we can reduce deaths by suicide in El Paso County and throughout our state.” – Phil Weiser, Colorado Attorney General
“‘Suicide Prevention is Everyone’s Business,’ is not just a tag line, it is a reality. I am grateful to have Attorney General Weiser, a leader in our state, take action today and I hope other leaders will take note and that this inspires others to take action. To see more employers offering suicide prevention training, schools having suicide prevention plans that follow best practices, and media partners engaging in safe messaging are a few things we hope to see in the near future.” – Cassandra Walton, Co-Chair, Suicide Prevention Collaborative of El Paso County
Suicide Prevention is the Business of Media
SAFE MESSAGING FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION MEDIA POLICY
The Suicide Prevention Collaborative of El Paso County (The Collaborative) is committed to partnering with local media organizations to ensure safe messaging for suicide prevention. The role of the Collaborative is to provide up to date information and training material regarding safe messaging to partnering media agencies/organizations. In turn, the role of the partnering media agencies/organizations is to ensure that personnel are trained and knowledgeable in these practices. This training and knowledge is to be reflected in news coverage related to deaths by suicide. Participating agencies/organizations will be acknowledged by the Collaborative website and social media as: “Community Partners in Safe Messaging for Suicide Prevention.”
Insert reporting on all deaths by suicide. Any suicide related story. To include domestic violence situations such as murder/suicide as well as mass shooting situations where perpetrator dies by suicide.
Please sign the Suicide Prevention Collaborative of El Paso County’s pledge to:
- Report on suicide as a public health issue.
- Use Appropriate Language. Certain phrases and words can further stigmatize suicide, spread myths, and undermine suicide prevention objectives such as “committed suicide” or referring to suicide as “successful,” “unsuccessful” or a “failed attempt.” Instead use, “died by suicide” or “completed” or “killed himself/herself/themself.”
- Emphasize Help and Hope. Stories of recovery through help-seeking and positive coping skills are powerful, especially when they come from people who have experienced suicide risk.
- Include Resources. Provide information on warning signs of suicide risk as well as hotline and treatment resources.
SAFE MESSAGING FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION MANAGEMENT PLAN
- Employee Onboarding: Employees are to be trained in and sign off on Safe Messaging for Suicide Prevention Policy at Hire.
- Annual Refresher: Employees are to be refreshed in Safe Messaging for Suicide Prevention best practices on a yearly basis with an annual sign off on the Safe Messaging for Suicide Prevention Policy.
- Ability to Audit: Training records for onboarding and refresher trainings should be available for audit for a representative of the Collaborative upon request. (accountability for safe messaging audit)
- Suicide Prevention is the Business of Businesses
- Suicide Prevention is the Business of Schools We are looking for volunteers to share the Suicide Prevention and Response Toolkit in their school district. For a video that reviews the toolkit and talking points: https://youtu.be/evP_jcGF6GQ
- Sample Script to provide overview of need for schools to adopt suicide prevention and response plans.
- Diversus Health School Suicide Prevention and Response Toolkit
- Suicide Prevention is the Business of our LGBTQIA2+ Community and Allies Toolkit for youth and how the community can support
- Suicide Prevention is the Business of Service Members, Veterans and Military Affiliated Families Postvention Toolkit for a Military Suicide Loss
- Suicide Prevention is Your Business
- Suicide Prevention is the Business of Media Take the Pledge for responsible and ethical reporting of deaths by suicide