Traveling suicide prevention quilt will at State Capitol in May |

Traveling suicide prevention quilt will at State Capitol in May

DENVER – State and national suicide prevention experts, suicide survivors and representatives of suicide prevention programs statewide will gather Friday, May 10 for Colorado’s first statewide suicide prevention summit.

The summit, entitled, “Wings of Hope,” will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Select, 455 S. Colorado Blvd. in Denver.

Individuals interested in attending the summit should call Laura Prohaska at the Mental Health Association of Colorado, (303) 377-3040. A limited number of scholarships for attendance and travel are available.

Shannon Anderson, director of the Office of Suicide Prevention at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said the summit is intended to raise awareness about the issue of suicide, which kills more than 600 Coloradans a year.

“Discussions will take place about how state, local and national suicide prevention programs can creatively work together to reduce suicide rates in Colorado and across the nation,” Anderson said. “Participants will learn why Colorado is a leader on suicide prevention, how current resources can better fulfill community needs and what individuals can do to become involved.”

Approximately 55 Coloradans die by suicide every month. The state’s suicide rate is the ninth leading cause of death and claims as many lives as motor vehicle crashes and more than homicide.

“Most suicidal individuals do not want to die,” Anderson said. “They just want to end the pain they are experiencing. And, suicide crises tend to be brief. When suicidal behaviors are detected early, lives can be saved.”

Traveling quilt to raise awareness at capital

DENVER – A quilt, made up of squares created by family members and friends surviving the loss of someone to suicide, will be displayed at the Colorado State Capitol from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, beginning Monday, May 6, and continuing through Saturday, May 11, to honor Colorado’s Observance of National Suicide Prevention Week.

Each of the quilt’s squares depicts a memory, through photographs and phrases, of a life cut short by suicide.

The Life Keepers Quilt was first created in 1997 out of a grassroots effort to put a face on suicide and raise awareness about the high rate of suicide loss in the country.

To find out more about the quilt or other suicide prevention activities, call Cindy Hodge in the Office of Suicide Prevention at (303) 692-2539.

At a Glance:

Death by suicide is a significant problem in Colorado. Approximately 55 Coloradans die each month in the state as a result of suicide. Everyone can help reduce these numbers by educating themselves about the warning signs of depression and suicide and where to go for help.

Colorado suicide statistics and facts:

n Suicide rates consistently have been nearly 40 percent above the national average.

n Suicide is the state’s ninth-leading cause of death and is one of the leading causes of injury-related deaths.

n Among youth, suicide is the

second leading cause of death.

n 90 to 95 percent of people who committed suicide had a diagnosable mental illness.

n Major depression is thought to account for 40 to 60 percent of all suicides.

n A person with depression is 21 times more likely to commit suicide; an individual with manic depression is 15 times more likely to commit

suicide. Mood disorders are by far the most common psychiatric condition associated with suicide.

n Alcohol is involved in 25 to 50 percent of adult suicides and up to 70 percent of adolescent suicides.

Warning signs of depression and/or suicide:

n ANY significant change in

behavior or personality

n Trouble eating or sleeping

n Feelings of hopelessness

n Increase use of alcohol or drugs

n Obsession with death

n Loss of interest in activities, work, school or social interactions

n Talking about suicide, death or a preoccupation with dying

n Giving away prized possessions

n Previous suicide attempts

n Inability to concentrate or

remember things

n Problems in work or school


n Chronic pain or frequent

complaints of physical symptoms

n Sudden happiness following a depressed mood

n Taking unnecessary risks

What to do if someone you know is experiencing suicidal symptoms:

n Listen and express concern in a non-judgmental way.

n Take action – get them

connected with professional help.

n Ask questions openly: (Do you have a suicide plan? Will you talk with someone who can help?)

n Show that you care.

n Take suicide threats seriously.

What not to do:

n Do NOT keep it a secret.

n Do NOT sidestep the issue or treat it lightly.

n Do NOT leave the person alone.

n Do NOT offer simple solutions.

n Do NOT judge.

n Do NOT offer or suggest drugs or alcohol.

n Do NOT try to be a therapist – get professional help.

Where to get help:

n In case of an emergency, call 911.

n If you or someone you know is in immediate crisis, call:

The Suicide Hotline, 1-800-SUICIDE

Local Mental Health Centers

Local Emergency Rooms

The Colorado Office of Suicide

Prevention was established in July 2000. The office works actively with other groups, programs and individuals across the state to reduce the

number of people impacted by suicide.

For more information about available resources in this area, contact the Office of Suicide Prevention at (303) 692-2560.

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