Suicide is a leading cause of death for Colorado’s teen and youth population. According to the Center for Disease Control, it was the second leading cause of death in 2017 for those aged 10 to 24 in Colorado, after accidents. That makes Colorado’s teen suicide rate nearly twice the national average.
A program in Boulder County aims to match children and youth at risk for suicide with licensed therapists in their communities. Mary Campbell who serves on the board of the Second Wind Fund of Boulder County says that if a financial or social barrier to treatment is present, they pay for up to 8 sessions of therapy from one of their specialized network providers.
“School counselors, interventionists, community providers will connect with us if there’s a student who’s uninsured or under-insured who needs support and is at risk for suicide, and we connect them with a therapist. No cost at all for the student. We’ve seen over the past two years a 75% increase in need for our services, so it’s a powerful organization that is truly changing and saving lives in our area.”
Campbell says it is important to keep the dialogue around mental health and suicide open with young people.
“Being willing to say to students ‘I am not afraid to talk about mental health, I am not afraid to talk about suicide prevention, I will connect you to help, I won’t judge you, I’m going to listen to you’ is very powerful. It’s powerful to tell kids ‘I’m not afraid to connect you, I’m not afraid to listen and being aware I think as community members, we all have different levels of interaction with students, being aware that the biggest warning sign is actually change. Change in behavior, change in eating or sleeping, withdrawing from activities. Trusting that internal instinct that there’s something not right and then asking those hard questions about ‘hey what’s going on?’”
On May 5 at 9.30am there will be a fundraiser 5K run at at the Boulder Reservoir in support of the Second Wind Fund of Boulder County. The Emerge Fund Run is a qualifier for the Bolder Boulder.
Suicide Prevention Resources:
Second Wind Fund: thesecondwindfund.org. Links students to mental health professionals and pays for up to 12 counseling sessions.
Colorado Crisis Line: 1-844-493-8255, coloradocrisisservices.org. Chat online or text TALK to 38255.
Mental Health First Aid: mhfaco.org. Get trained to recognize the signs and how to respond.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: afsp.org. Join one of their upcoming walks for awareness in Colorado.
Crisis Text Line: crisistextline.org. Text 741741 from anywhere in the nation to reach a counselor.