Suicide Prevention Efforts Important During Holidays
By Joe Vaccarelli, Grand Junction Sentinel
The holiday season is often a time of stress and unfortunately it’s also a time where suicide numbers tend to spike across the country.
But whether you are someone who is going through a difficult time or you have a friend or loved one you fear may be contemplating suicide, there are a number of resources available for help.
“We know there are lots of people who have thought about suicide or tried it and survived and today are in a happy, healthy place, and are glad they did not hurt themselves,” Mind Springs Health Executive Vice President Michelle Hoy said.
Some of those resources include the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and a separate text line for veterans. In Colorado, residents can call the Colorado Crisis Hotline and either speak to a peer who has experienced mental health issues on a “warmline” — rather than a hotline — or talk to a crisis clinician.
They can also text “talk” to 38255 to start a conversation. Another crisis text line is available by texting “CO” to 741741.
Last week, the Federal Communications Commission approved a three-digit suicide prevention number that will work similar to 911. The 988 number will be used and will likely start up in about 18 months.
Mind Springs Health also has a walk-in crisis center at the West Springs Hospital, 515 28¾ Road, Building C. The walk-in center is open 23 hours per day and is only closed from 4 to 5 a.m.
Mind Springs Health also partners with Mystrength.com, a mental health support web page that includes videos on coping skills and assessment opportunities. Mind Springs offers free use of the page by putting in the organization’s payer code of “wellnessweb” on the website.
“The more we talk about it, the less stigma there will be and more likely people will reach out,” Hoy said.
Mesa County Public Health is also doing its part with prevention efforts and partners with St. Mary’s Medical Center and Mind Springs to provide educational opportunities.
This holiday season, and anytime really, Public Health urges people to watch for warning signs in friends and family. They should seek to help loved ones who appear to be depressed, showing rage, irritability, anxiety, showing lack of interest or humiliation.
Talking about unbearable pain, feeling trapped, having no reason to live or talking about being a burden to others are also warning signs. Withdrawing from activities, acting recklessly, calling people to say goodbye and increased alcohol and drug are some behavioral signs to watch for.
“You don’t have to be an expert to be a good friend and support someone,” Mesa County Public Health Program Manager Sarah Robinson said. “There is added stress we all experience this time of year, and it can add up.”