Your September 6 article on the alarming trend in the Yavapai County suicide rates mirrors the dilemma we face at the Mental Health Coalition Verde Valley about what a community can do to help prevent suicide.
We recently had Yasmine Sealy, Investigations Supervisor of the Medical Examiner’s Office in Coconino County, speak to the Coalition. She said there will be folks who make their decision to end their life and are at peace with it and carry it out without anyone expecting it.
But most people give us signs that they are in distress. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention lists the risk factors and warning signs to watch for and can be found on their website https://afsp.org/about-suicide/risk-factors-and-warning-signs/.
These range from talk, behavior, and mood, to health factors,environmental factors and historical factors. We should all become familiar with these risk factors and signs and be willing to ask someone if they are okay or if something is bothering them because you’ve noticed some changes in them. Someone caring can sometimes save a life.
The Mental Health Coalition Verde Valley offers resources on this side of Mingus that include a Survivors of Suicide Support Group that meets the last Tuesday of each month, 6:30-8:30 pm at Christ Lutheran Church, 25 Chapel Road, Sedona.
This support group is for those who have lost a loved one to suicide.
In addition, the Coalition offers programs to raise the level of conversation about suicide and to let people know there is help available. One such program is on Thursday, September 14 at 4:45PM at the Jewish Community of Sedona Verde Valley, 100 Meadowlark Rd, Sedona. Four community members will share their stories about attempting suicide and what their journeys have been like to healing and living.
And very importantly, there is a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline that folks in crisis can call for help 1-800-273-8255 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741. The 24- hour Teen Lifeline in Arizona is 800-248-TEEN (8336).
Another resource is Mental Health First Aid classes available free and taught by instructors from Spectrum Healthcare Group. In these 8-hour classes you can learn how to help a loved one, a neighbor, or an employee experiencing an emotional crisis. Thse classes take place every two months and rotate through our Verde Valley communities.
For more information on these resources call me at 649-0135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barbara Litrell, President
Mental Health Coalition Verde Valley