Intervention saves lives

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Across the U.S. more than 45,000 lives a year are lost to suicide, yet it remains the silent epidemic that few seem willing to talk about.

Many survivors that have lost loved ones and friends experience tremendous anger and frustration because they feel that more could be done to stem the tide. The Intervene Challenge is a grassroots movement that seeks to address the suicide crisis.

Since 2012, more than 10,000 participants have joined the movement gaining the skills to save lives. The Challenge is offered in one- and two-day formats utilizing world-class evidence-based curriculum that raises participant awareness and confidence that they can make a difference in the lives of those at risk. The Challenge mantra is that trained people save people.

Many people hesitate to speak up even when the signs of risk are clearly present. The hesitation comes from fear of what to say and the myth that asking the suicide question might increase the risk.

The Challenge addresses these fears and myths helping participants understand that ordinary people with no formal training in mental health play an important part in sustaining a reduction in suicide.

In this regard, suicide intervention training is comparable to CPR – one does not have to be a surgeon to administer CPR or even a medic. The reality is that the true “First Responders” are not the people in uniform that show up with sirens, but rather they are the parents, coaches, teachers, ministers, co-workers, and friends that are aware of the risk and provide first aid until professional help is available.

More than one million suicide attempts are made each year nationwide and at any given time 1 in 20 people are contemplating suicide. Through the training of ordinary people, extraordinary strides can be made to build a culture of health and safety that effectively reduces the risk of suicide.

While 75 percent of the nation has had higher rates of suicide than Georgia, some communities within the state have experienced higher rates than average. In two of the last three years, Fayette County has experienced higher than average rates of suicide. We can do better.

On July 28 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Fayetteville First Baptist Church will host the Intervene Challenge. Doors will open at 8:30 a.m.

This is a community-wide training opportunity for all that are interested. Additionally, five hours of POST credit is provided for law enforcement.

We are grateful for the support of FFBC as a partner with Armed Forces Mission in the efforts to build a culture of health in our hometown community. Reducing suicide takes many people working together.

To register for the training coming to Fayetteville on July 28 visit ListenLearnLead.org.

Kenneth Koon
Executive Director
Tyrone, Ga.