Members of the San Juan County Zero Suicide Coalition were busy in September, helping bring attention to Suicide Prevention Month by supporting activities at the county’s high schools and conducting classes in suicide prevention techniques.
High school groups known as either HOPE Squads or UNITY Squads each selected one week out of the month to host a series of activities aimed at helping educate fellow students and members of their communities about the dangers of suicide and ways to promote suicide prevention. These weeklong activities culminated with a community walk on Friday, hosted by these groups and supported by the Zero Suicide Coalition. More than 600 county residents participated in these HOPE/UNITY walks, from Monticello to Monument Valley, throughout the month. Members of the Zero Suicide Coalition said the response by community members was very impressive and encouraging. Each person who walked was given a T-shirt made especially for the event. 800 of these shirts were distributed. The shirts have suicide prevention hotline numbers across the front.
In addition, seven gun safes were given to qualifying families during these walks. The Zero Suicide Coalition has secured gun safes that are given to families who have suicide concerns for family members, and wish to secure their firearms. Families who qualify are eligible to receive one of these safes from various agencies and locations throughout the county. Many have already been distributed.
These HOPE/UNITY walks also provided opportunities for informational materials on suicide prevention to be distributed. The Zero Suicide Coalition expressed their appreciation for the students and their advisors, who hosted these events, and said this year’s activities were a good start for events in the future.
Everyone who participated in one these walks was also eligible to win a complimentary helicopter flight from Classic Air. They simply registered before each walk and all the registration tickets were gathered for one final drawing held during last week’s Zero Suicide Coalition meeting. The name of UNHS Radiology Technician, Harold Todachinnie, was selected as the lucky winner of the Classic Air flight. Congratulations.
Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. also held a pair of suicide prevention classes in September. Niki Olsen, an LCMHC with UNHS Behavioral Health, conducted a Safe Talk Class for twenty-five attendees. UNHS CSW Pfawnn Eskee, along with Jessica Hayes UNHS LMFT and Autumn Secody, also facilitated a two-day Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) class for twenty-five attendees. Both classes were well received. These classes are held at various times throughout each year and are advertised in advance so those wishing to attend can do so.
Suicide is a very serious problem in San Juan County and Utah as a whole. The Zero Suicide Coalition is trying to bring attention to this very crucial problem facing our community. Anyone wishing to know more, or report a possible suicide risk, can contact UNHS Behavioral Health at any of the UNHS clinics in San Juan County. You can also contact San Juan Counseling or Blue Mountain Hospital, in Blanding.
Those who completed the ASIST Training in September displayed their certificates at the end of the two-day class. The training was conducted by UNHS CSW Pfawnn Eskee (L) Autumn Secody (Third Row R) and LMFT Jessica Hayes (Not Pictured). Courtesy Photo