State calls attention to suicide prevention

Denver ­— Friday, Sept. 6, 2013 — State government is working to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention resources across Colorado during Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 8-14.

The Colorado State Employee Assistance Program (C-SEAP), which is part of the Department of Personnel & Administration, along with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s Office of Suicide Prevention and the Carson J Spencer Foundation, have joined together to spread this important message.

In 2012, suicide ranked above motor vehicle accidents as the number one injury-related cause of death in the state.  CDPHE reports that Colorado regularly ranks in the top 10 states annually for suicides.

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a proclamation designating the week of Sept. 8-14, 2013, as Suicide Prevention Week. The proclamation indicates that many Coloradans are struggling to cope with the pressures of mental illness, a stressed economy, substance abuse or other factors that render them thinking suicide is their only alternative. “As a community, we have a responsibility to help turn that thought process around,” said C-SEAP Director Randi Wood.

CDPHE offers all Colorado citizens assistance through the Suicide Prevention Lifeline – an online and telephone resource to help those in a suicide crisis.

“One of the major challenges facing those who suffer from mental illness or substance abuse is the stigma that is associated with seeking help,” said Jarrod Hindman, director of the CDPHE’s Office of Suicide Prevention.  “We need to reduce the social pressure that keeps some from seeking life-saving assistance, and recognize this as a winnable battle.”

State government has rolled out programs like Man Therapy and Working Minds for State employees in an effort to reduce instances of suicide.  In Colorado, men between the ages of 25 and 54 account for the highest rates of suicide deaths annually.

C-SEAP, in partnership with the State of Colorado Employee Wellness Program, is promoting the use of “Man Therapy,” a free online alternative to help men deal with mental health issues as part of an overall focus on employee wellness. “The State believes that early intervention and counseling can help reverse the trend of suicidal thoughts and actions, and we intend to educate as many State employees as we can about suicide prevention,” said Wood.

“One of our most promising suicide prevention strategies is to ‘get upstream,’” said Sally Spencer-Thomas, CEO and Co-Founder of the Carson J Spencer Foundation. “Man Therapy and Working Minds encourage working-aged people to think about their problems in a different way – before problems become catastrophic.”

Man Therapy and Working Minds are two programs that direct resources and help toward higher risk groups. Professionals advise that a comprehensive suicide prevention program involving programs like these and other aspects of mental health promotion are needed to sustain effective suicide prevention long-term.

By signing the proclamation declaring Sept. 8-14 as Suicide Prevention Week, Hickenlooper is asking every Coloradan to be more aware of the impact suicidal thoughts have on individuals, family and friends. “We encourage everyone who may be contemplating suicide – or knows someone who is – to take advantage of the resources available to help with the struggle,” Hickenlooper said.

For more information on suicide prevention, please visit the following resources: