A Stone of Hope: Building a Suicide Safer Community

“Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”  These words of Dr. Martin Luther King were never truer than on Friday and Saturday of January 18-19th.   Seventeen (17) individuals registered and completed this two-day course with one thing in mind, creating a suicide safer community.  In a partnership Tillamook Veterans Services and Columbia Pacific CCO, SOS Tillamook Prevention hosted a free training, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST.) This training was made available free to anyone whom attended.  The model teaches effective intervention skill while helping to build suicide prevention networks in the community.

A suicide safer community is one that has demonstrated a commitment to suicide prevention, promoting wellness and mental health, an ability to talk openly and freely about suicide and support to those whom have been impacted.  A community whom that believes, by saving one life at a time, it contributes too few suicides in the community as a whole. A community that believes it is no one person, organization or group, which is responsible to help with this issue including youth.

Suicide is now being deemed a community health crisis. The stigma surrounding suicide reduces the range and number of people who could help and prevent suicide. “We are all at risk of having thoughts of suicide at one time in our lives,” states ASIST Master Trainer Brianne Mares. “The difference is how we engage with people with those thoughts,” All thoughts and comments about suicide should be taken seriously. The sooner warning signs are detected and help sought, the better the outcome person with thoughts of suicide will be.

“We educate people know that sometimes we don’t have the capacity to help those close to us,” insists ASIST Master Trainer DeAnna Pearl. “What you can do, is find someone that can and that is just as important.” The benefits of encouraging people to open about it and talking impacts it has had in their lives.  The difference between recognizing and acting where there are vague ideas of suicide before these lead to a self-inflicted injury, can mean the difference between life and death.

On Saturday of the MLK Holiday weekend, the participants filled out a final feedback form, and the comments summed up the two-day training. “[sic] I feel incredibly prepared to recognize and be able to help someone with thoughts of suicide.”  Another, “[I] feel so much more hopeful about my ability to make a difference!”  Seventeen (17) people joined thousand others who have mined the mountain of despair and found a stone of hope.

For more information about upcoming trainings and community conversations, contact DeAnna Pearl @ 503 842 8102 x 270 or email DeAnnaP@tfcc.org.

June 12, 2019

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