Crisis Hotline Aims To Intervene Early To Prevent Suicide

By: Chiara Lotierzo Email
By: Chiara Lotierzo Email

"It's a tremendously problematic issue in this particular community," said Barry Koch about suicide in El Paso County. He works with the Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention Partnership (PPSPP), which is now using its Crisis Hotline to intervene early, before it's too late.

"Honestly I've never heard of anything quite like that, that is a stunningly high number," said Koch about the rates of suicide in our community. In Colorado, 940 people committed suicide in 2009, 172 of those were completed in El Paso County.

Both of those numbers are new records, and something Koch and PPSPP wants to change. One way they're tackling the problem is by getting people to call in with any issue, rather than waiting until a person is seriously considering suicide. "We want people to call for anything," said Koch.

Part of the change from 'Suicide Hotline' to 'Crisis Hotline' is the stigma. "I think when you say, 'this hotline is for suicide prevention' then only the people who are going to call are those who are currently identifying themselves as suicidal," said Koch.

Koch says, now, people can feel comfortable calling for anything. "If you're lonely, if you're just a little bit depressed. If you're just anxious about something, you're not even quite sure why you're feeling the anxiety you are, you had a death in the family, you had a relationship break up," said Koch.

To call the Suicide Prevention Partnership Crisis Hotline, just call 596-LIFE (5433). It is staffed from 8 a.m. until Midnight every day. The Suicide Prevention Partnership's main phone line is 573-7447.

Another number that can be reached anytime, any day, is the National Suicide Prevention Hotline; just call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

For more resources, click on the link below this story.

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