COLORADO SPRINGS — On Friday January 17th, 2020 the University of Colorado Colorado Springs will be hosting the first annual El Paso County Suicide Prevention Conference. This unprecedented gathering of many community groups is full and will be standing room only, which is a good problem to have for a first time event that is being headed up by the Community Health Partnership.
Duane France, is the Director of Veteran Services with the Family Care Center in Colorado Springs and will be one of the speakers. “We’re extremely excited about the response. This event is going to be well over 500 community members from a wide range of positions. That speaks to the involvement in our community of many groups working to reduce suicide across all ages and populations.”
Raising awareness of suicide prevention resources that are already available in our community, as well as developing new voices to spread the message that there is help available is just one of the goals for the partnership.
France points out that having open conversations about suicide, and how to prevent it needs to happen more often. “Not talking about it - has gotten us to where we are. There's been a lot of really great emphasis on mental health this past year and it really seems like everything is coming together and everybody saying, ‘What we've been doing isn't working.’ A colleague of mine, Dr. Phillip Smith at the University of South Alabama described suicide as both common and rare. It's rare in the fact that many of us individually can go years without experiencing a death by suicide in our in our personal lives, and it's common in that nearly everyone has been impacted by it.”
The Community Health Partnership has very specific goals they want to accomplish and Duane says to expect more events in the future. “This is the first in a five-year plan. The Colorado National Collaborative's goal is to reduce suicide in Colorado by 20% by 2024. Our goal in El Paso County is to reduce suicide in our community by 20% by 2024.”
In our next Your Healthy Family story, we will introduce you to Andrea Wood, MA, LPC who is the new Zero Suicide Coordinator with UCHealth in Southern Colorado. Andrea will also be speaking at Friday’s conference and will share how her new role at UCHealth will help educate system employees across the board to help reduce suicide in our community.
Friday’s event is full but sessions and panel discussion will be live streamed on YouTube on this link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Er7S_q-5Y-M
If you would like to learn more about this new effort to reduce suicide in our community you can visit these websites.
Community Health Partnership
First Annual El Paso County Suicide Prevention Conference
Peak View Behavioral Health
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