Suicide has been a national issue for decades, yet only in the last few years has there been documentable actions taking place across the country to educate and actively prevent this tragedy.
With funding from the Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Grant, we are fortunate to be able to address suicide in our own communities!
Crawford and Roscommon Counties were one of eight local grantees awarded funding through September of 2012. During this grant it will be a priority to build a local suicide prevention coalition, write a prevention plan, and move towards educating the community on what to do if they fear someone they love is at risk for suicide.
Since March, Ellens has been contacting and meeting people throughout the community to form a suicide prevention coalition to meet regularly and formulate a strategy to combat suicide in Crawford and Roscommon Counties. The coalition met in March and April and has established a monthly meeting schedule for the remainder of 2010.
Agencies represented on the coalition thus far are as follows: Michigan State Police, Houghton Lake Schools, Roscommon Schools, Grayling Schools, Second Chance Academy, Kirtland College, COOR ISD, School Based Health Center, Great Start Collaborative, Mercy Hospital, Mid-Michigan Health Park, Northern Lakes Community Mental Health, Crawford County Family Court, Department of Human Services, Grace Center, Third Level Crisis Center, Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, Commission on Aging, Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative, and MSU Extension.
Throughout the next few months this new group will begin to compose a suicide prevention plan, outlining goals, activities and desirable outcomes for the community. They will look at current community data on suicide, suicide attempts and self-harmful behavior as a way to assess progress and changes throughout the area.
To ensure that there are key persons throughout the community with suicide intervention skills, about 45 members of the coalition will become trained in the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) in late August of this year. ASIST is a two-day, intensive training on how to confidently and competently intervene on someone’s behalf when they elicit suicidal talk or behaviors. The group will also look at suicide prevention programs to implement in the local schools to educate youth on how to recognize signs of depression, which adults they can go to in times of need, how to stay healthy, and the importance of not keeping secrets about suicide when their friend or family member discloses suicidal intent to them.
Ellens said, “Having only been operational for three months, it is evident that Crawford and Roscommon counties will be taking big steps towards creating a healthier community for its citizens. Through education, awareness and intervention we hope to instill that suicide is preventable and each of us have a role to play.“
For more information on how you might become involved, contact Nicole Ellens at 989-366-1105 or email Nicole.Ellens@NLCMH.org.