Every nine days someone in Larimer County commits suicide.Every nine days someone in Larimer County commits suicide.
Most people are shocked by that statistic, says Beverly Thurber, executive director of the Suicide Resource Center of Larimer County.
“It’s a topic people don’t talk about,” she says. There’s a lot of stigma around it.”
Thurber’s job is to increase suicide awareness in the county and provide support for people who have been affected by it. Her organization is the only one in Larimer County dedicated to suicide prevention through education. Workers with the center go into schools and the community and teach people how to recognize if someone is at risk for suicide and how to approach that person. While not a crisis resource, the non-profit provides grief and depression support groups.
“The main reason people die from suicide is they suffer from a mental illness,” Thurber says. “Peer support lessens the sense of isolation and helps people get better.”
Most of the Suicide Resource Center’s services are free, and some classes have nominal fees. But because of the stigma associated with the subject, the organization has to work hard to raise money.
“I think people who have been touched by suicide are sometimes incredibly passionate and dedicated to this,” Thurber says. “On the other hand, there are a lot of people who don’t want to talk about it.”
Thurber says people are more comfortable talking about murder than suicide, and that’s unfortunate.
We try to empower people in our community to recognize the signs and reach out to people in need,” she says. “We can all work together to save lives.”
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has an Office of Suicide Prevention, one of the few such state-run programs in the country. A list of emergency numbers and other suicide prevention resources across the state can be found here.