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Sat, Oct. 19

Update on suicide prevention education efforts

In July, the Counselor's Column informed readers about an educational outreach effort that West Yavapai Guidance Clinic was doing related to suicide prevention education. Now seems like a good time to provide an update for our community.

West Yavapai Guidance Clinic has been presenting information to interested groups of adults on the signs of suicide and how to get someone help locally. To date, 17 presentations for 324 adults have been given. The feedback from those in attendance has been very good, with two of the most critical outcomes being that attendees felt more confident about what to look for and how to get a suicidal person help right here in the Prescott area.

Did you know that approximately every 14.2 minutes, someone in the United States takes his or her life? Many people are touched by suicide, not just the person who is gone. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), 90 percent of people who die by suicide are suffering from one or more psychiatric disorders. Mental health disorders such as clinical depression and bipolar disorder are highly treatable, typically with both medications and therapy.

In 2009, the national rate of suicide per 100,000 was 12. Arizona was among the states at the top 10 highest rates of suicide with a rate of 16.1, per AFSP and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

West Yavapai Guidance Clinic's presentations began in February as a volunteer effort of staff. Clinicians were so committed to doing this education, above and beyond their already busy schedules, that the workshops were performed in true volunteer spirit. After local teen suicides brought this topic to the forefront of the minds of many, there was a surge in presentation requests. In order to meet the need and not rely just on the availability of already-busy volunteers, a grant to underwrite project expenses was sought and obtained from the Harold James Family Trust. Now, thanks to their generosity, West Yavapai Guidance Clinic is more able than ever to respond to the community's need for education.

Should your adult group be interested in hosting such a free workshop/presentation, contact Laura Norman at 445-5211, ext. 3615. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit community mental health center, West Yavapai Guidance Clinic seeks to provide community education as well as treatment. Through opportunities such as these, people can learn the tools that may help prevent a tragedy.

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