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SPAN kicks off Idaho Lives Program

The Suicide Prevention Action Network met Wednesday to kick off its Idaho Lives Program.Mental health professionals from all over eastern Idaho attended the meeting. SPAN executive director Jeni Griffin said the idea is to first train professionals, then teachers, students, and eventually the general public.

“This is helping to train youth to be able to identify within their own social circles, anybody that may be at risk and then they can go to a trusted adult that has been trained of the warning signs,” she said.

Following this trickle-down effect will help prevent suicidal events before those at risk act, leading them to hospitals staffed with people like State Hospital South’s Clinician, Marty Cooke. He said he wants to be on the front lines to combat this disease.

“It’s important to feel like you have the skills and the tools to help those people so you can avoid some of those events, before they end up in the hospital,” he said.

According to the Center of Disease Control, Idaho had the sixth-highest suicide rate in the country, which was 49 percent higher than the national average. People over the age of 35 have a higher risk.

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