Jan 1, 2011 11:28 PM by Matt Stafford

Local group concerned about suicides in 2010 and down the road

Official numbers aren't out yet, but 2010 could be a very high year for suicides in El Paso County.

"We're getting that impression from the number of calls we have received and from the number of suicides we've heard about," explains Janet Karnes, executive director of the Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention Partnership.

Holidays can mean more work for people like Karnes, but it doesn't stop there.

"A lot of people think Christmas is the worst time, and it's really not, it's really after Christmas," Karnes explains. She says that's when the party is over for many; family has left, bills are coming in -- it can compound your feelings. They hear that on the phone.

"They're just very desperate," says Karnes.

However, now they're hearing something that's cause for even more concern than normal.

"2010 I think we've seen some of the youngest children ever to complete suicide in El Paso County," explains Karnes.

A 12-year-old and a 10-year-old, both committing suicide; it's a tough thought to wrap your head around, but that's what Karnes is trying to do -- looking for ways to help and answering calls of crisis.

"That's our goal this holiday season, just try to keep these kids alive," says Karnes.

Going beyond, they've even started a group, helping kids affected by suicides to talk about their feelings and hopefully not go down self-destructive paths themselves. It's called Children Left Behind.

Also, the group is providing assistance in Cripple Creek, where an elementary school teacher committed suicide over the holiday break. They're looking for ways to help the children cope with the loss as they come back to school. Additionally, they've planned suicide prevention training in Cripple Creek for January 20th and 21st.

She wants them to see a sunny start to 2011, and many more new years down the road.

For more information on suicide prevention, the Children Left Behind group, prevention training or the Pikes Peak Partnership, click here to visit the Suicide Prevention Partnership of the Pikes Peak Region's website. They also have warning signs to watch for in someone you think may be having emotional issues.

If you or someone you know needs immediate help, please call (719)-596-LIFE (5433) -- Suicide Prevention Partnership.


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