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Chautauqua County Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention, local partners hold workshop

JAMESTOWN — Suicide is a serious public health problem that takes an enormous toll on families, friends, classmates, co-workers and communities. Uncovering the reason for an individual suicide death is complex and challenging and local organizations are working to put measures in place for prevention and response. The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention along with the Suicide Prevention Center of New York work together to provide intervention trainings and to begin steps to form a formal postvention team to strengthen suicide response efforts in Chautauqua County.

An Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshop was recently held at Jamestown Community College to train community members to provide “first aid” to those who may be at risk for suicide or to help a person at risk to stay safe and seek further help. Twenty-eight participants, including educational, mental health, social service professionals and caring community members received training to link people with community resources and further supports to save lives.

The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention held a planning session during the workshop with Garra Lloyd-Lester, associate director of the Suicide Prevention Center New York holding informational planning session to discuss the development of a suicide postvention team and what that could look like for our community.

“What a productive two days facilitating suicide intervention skills to 26 dedicated an passionate individuals, all of whom are helping to create suicide safer communities and are further ready, willing and able to help someone that may be thinking of suicide explore their reasons for living,” Lloyd-Lester said.

“We want to stress that there is help and resources in our community,” said Victoria Patti, coordinator of the Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention. “It is better to report the concern to a medical professional or call 911, than to do nothing at all or think someone else will do it. Community members need to understand and know the warning signs of suicide and be brave enough to ask the question, ‘Are you thinking of suicide?’ Those that are thinking of suicide may just want to be heard and their pain to be understood. Take all warning signs seriously and please reach out a hand; you may save a life.”

Anyone who suspects that someone may be at risk for suicide should take it seriously. If anyone is concerned that the person is in immediate danger, call 911 or the Chautauqua County Crisis Hotline at 1-800-724-0461 for immediate assistance.

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