Author Archives: Vista Market

Suicide Prevention is Everyone’s Business

Suicide Prevention is Everyone’s Business

By Corinne Cavender, Behavioral Health Operations Coordinator 

Suicide prevention is everyone’s business. That’s why April’s Mental Health Matters KOTO show focused on the topic. With our mountain town mental health issues going mostly under the radar, we brought Robin Slater, LPC, LAC from the San Miguel Sheriff’s Office and Lindsay Wright, LMFT from Telluride Regional Medical Center in to talk to us about suicide and ideas on what we can do to prevent it.  

“We all know what suicide is, but I don’t think most people know that as of 2019, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.” explained Wright. “One group, specifically, that sees a higher rate of suicide is mountain town communities. The rocky mountain region has one of the highest suicide rates in the country, second only to Alaska.” 

Though it is hard to pinpoint exactly why mountain towns have high suicide rates, many attribute the issue to a combination of the following: 

  • Culture of rugged individualism and competitiveness  
  • Access to firearms 
  • Lack of mental health care 
  • Geographic isolation 
  • Extreme wealth disparity between working class and tourist/second homeowners 
  • Transient nature making relationship building difficult 
  • Paradise Paradox: devaluing mental health struggles because one lives in a beautiful place  
  • Substance use 

Now that we have some insight on why our suicide rates might be higher, let’s shift our focus to what we can do about it. Slater and Wright both emphasized that anyone can play a role in suicide prevention. 

Wright explained “If you are concerned about someone ending their life, just be direct. Ask. That will not increase the likelihood of someone dying by suicide. It will open a conversation that will lead to keeping that person safe.” Slater followed up with “There are some things that we can notice within our friends, like shifts in their behavior, which can lead us to ask about suicide. You need to be able to talk about it openly with the individual. You do not need to be a professional, you need to be a present listener.”  

These shifts in behavior are often referred to as invitations. The person with suicidal thoughts is inviting you to talk to them about suicide. By using those invitations as a reason to bring up the topic, you are not asking the question “out of the blue”. For example, “Corinne, sometimes when people are missing work, drinking a lot, and not engaging with hobbies they once loved they are thinking of suicide. Are you thinking about suicide?”  By asking this question directly, you are allowing that individual the space to talk about how they are feeling without beating around the bush.  

If they answer yes, the next step is developing a plan to keep them safe and tapping in professional resources to ensure that safety. In San Miguel County, the Crisis Responders out of the San Miguel Sheriff’s Office are the go-to suicide or mental health crisis intervention resource. You can call 911 or the Sheriff’s Office directly and ask for a Crisis Responder to be dispatched. A behavioral health clinician will respond to the crisis and help develop a plan to keep the individual safe.  

Great. Now we all know the basics about what we can do to help prevent a future suicide. However, we cannot ignore the fact that our community has already lost many beautiful souls to the act, and there are many struggling through that grieving process as you read these words.  

“Talking to someone is important.” said Slater, as she explained what advice she would give to those who have lost someone to suicide. “Talk about it. Talk about the person. Use their name. The more we are able to talk openly and reminisce, the better it is for the healing process.”

Our lesson for the day? Keep talking. If you are worried someone might be having thoughts of suicide, ask them directly. If you have lost someone to suicide, talk about them and how you are feeling. The more we talk about suicide and mental health on all levels, the more we can destigmatize the topic. The more we destigmatize talking about suicide and seeking help, the more likely we are to help save a life.  

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, call the Colorado Crisis Services line at 1-844-493-TALK, or text “TALK” to 38255 

Listen to the full interview here:

Keeping Older Adults Living Comfortably at Home: Stories of Support from TCHNetwork

Keeping Older Adults Living Comfortably at Home: Stories of Support from TCHNetwork

By Ruthie Boyd, Marketing Coordinator VISTADoug and the In-Home Assessment Process When Tri-County Health Network received a call in 2019 from Donna, RN, about an older gentleman, Doug, who was experiencing some forgetfulness and isolation, the Palliative team jumped to action and conducted an in-home assessment.  For people like Doug, TCHNetwork conducts an in-home assessment to better understand the situation and the types of care… Continue Reading

“Our Community is Aging:” Palliative Program Volunteers

“Our Community is Aging:” Palliative Program Volunteers

By Ruthie Boyd, Marketing Coordinator VISTA“Jim has become part of my life, and it’s been great. Volunteering has been a wonderful experience, and I want to continue.”Ossie Mera is the Director of Housekeeping at Mountain Lodge and a volunteer for Tri-County Health Network’s Palliative Services program on the side. Volunteers in the Palliative program help residents in San Miguel… Continue Reading

Telluride Medical Center’s Integrated Health Model Combines Behavioral and Physical Health

Telluride Medical Center’s Integrated Health Model Combines Behavioral and Physical Health

By Corinne Cavender, Behavioral Health Operations Coordinator Last month, we highlighted Uncompahgre Medical Center’s integrated care model. For this month’s edition of Mental Health Matters on KOTO, we interviewed Lindsay Wright, LMFT from Telluride Regional Medical Center (TRMC) and learned that integrated health care is not exclusive to the west end of the county. TRMC… Continue Reading

Uncompahgre Medical Center: Innovative Behavioral Health Care an Asset to West End Residents

Uncompahgre Medical Center: Innovative Behavioral Health Care an Asset to West End Residents

By Corinne Cavender, Behavioral Health Operations Coordinator  Your wellbeing is more than physical health. It is a combination of a handful of factors, including your behavioral health. Our partners at the Uncompahgre Medical Center (UMC) are leading the movement of tackling “health” from more than just a physical lens. We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Shelley Fourney, MSW, LCSW from UMC to learn more… Continue Reading

New Year’s Resolutions: Why bother, or chance for positive change?

New Year’s Resolutions: Why bother, or chance for positive change?

By Ruth Homan, Community Health WorkerThe beginning of a new year prompts us to feel like it is time for a fresh start. There seems to be an innate desire to make positive changes in our lives; trying to improve ourselves physically, intellectually, or socially. According to finder.com, 74 percent of American adults reported the wish… Continue Reading

CORE (Co-Responder) Program in San Miguel County: Bettering Behavioral Health Outcomes

CORE (Co-Responder) Program in San Miguel County: Bettering Behavioral Health Outcomes

By Corinne Cavender, Behavioral Health Operations CoordinatorHave you heard about the Co-Responder program we have in San Miguel County? Well, if you haven’t, buckle up and read carefully… you’re going to want to take a note of this one.  Recently we had the privilege of interviewing Robin Slater LPC., LAC. for a KOTO Access show. Robin works for the San Miguel County… Continue Reading

Colorado Legislature Approves Millions to Support Coloradans with their Energy Costs

Colorado Legislature Approves Millions to Support Coloradans with their Energy Costs

By Sean MacDonellLast week, Colorado legislators passed a coronavirus relief bill that will allocate millions to small businesses and non-profits, including five million dollars for Energy Outreach to help Coloradans weatherize their homes and assist with energy bill payments.Energy Outreach Colorado (EOC) is a statewide organization that helps Coloradans year-round pay for electricity, natural gas,… Continue Reading

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