Local group to host suicide awareness meeting

The rate of suicides in Mesa County is three times higher than the national average.

It’s a trend leaders of the Western Slope chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness hope to stem, in part through a suicide and mental health education seminar March 16. The education session will take place from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Mesa County Health Department, 510 29 1/2 Road.

The local chapter of NAMI has been planning the seminar since last fall. Western Slope NAMI Education Coordinator Nancy Wall said the group decided to address the link between mental illness and suicide in the first in a series of quarterly education sessions to be hosted by the group because of suicide’s prevalence in Mesa County. Resource tables at the session will have information about mental health and suicide prevention, there will be discussion of symptoms a person may exhibit if they are considering suicide, and survivors of attempted suicide will share their stories.

“I would say it’s for everybody and anybody,” Western Slope NAMI President Leslie Kent said. “It’s about bringing hope to our community and awareness and education.”

Western Slope NAMI used to combine education sessions with monthly support group meetings for people with mental illness and their family members. Wall said the group decided to split education from the support group meetings and start hosting quarterly education sessions because the groups were growing and needed more time to focus on support and split into smaller groups. Western Slope NAMI has about 35 members in the Grand Valley split into four support groups that meet from 6 to 7:45 p.m. the second Monday of every month at Colorado West Mental Health, Wall said.

In addition to support groups and education sessions, the nonprofit hosts 12-week courses of “Family-to-Family,” an educational course for family members and caregivers of adults with mental illness. The class covers symptoms and treatment for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder and coinciding brain or addictive disorders. A session of Family-to-Family will start April 6 and take place from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Saturdays through June 29. To register, call 462-3989 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

For more information about NAMI programs and the March 16 class, call 462-3989 or visit http://www.namiws.org.


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