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Mental health professionals raising suicide prevention awareness

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - Suicide is an ongoing concern in the state of Idaho.

While Idaho isn't currently in the top 10 in the nation in suicide rates, the amount of people committing suicide continues to go up due to various factors.

"We still lose about one person a day in the state to suicide, said Matt Larsen, who is a psychiatrist in Idaho Falls. "And that's part of the point of this conference is trying to prevent suicide in Idaho."

Larsen reminds the eastern Idaho area there are resources for help. He said the biggest risk factors happen when someone feels like a burden on others, and they can't belong no matter how hard they try. If someone is going through either of those things, reach out for help.

Community Suicide Prevention, a local non-profit aimed to educate people on risk factors, held a conference on Friday to educate the community on what to look for to prevent suicide deaths.

Their primary mission is to help people look for signs to prevent suicide, to provide comfort to those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts, and to provide aid to families who have lost a loved one to suicide.

Christine Adams lost a son to suicide seven years ago. She decided to join the Community Suicide Prevention Board to help other families who have also lost a loved one to suicide.

"He fought a long and courageous battle with mental illness. Super proud of the fight he fought," Adams said. "However, it was a little too much for him. And as a family, we've just come together to heal and as a community with Community Suicide Prevention."

Many area clinical psychologists attended the conference to learn more about how to better help their own clients.

Dawn Cureton, a PsyD, learned many important tools to help those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts.

"I think one of the things that I really have appreciated so far during this conference is really being able to better assess how we look at and how we can help as clinicians with anyone who's struggling with suicide," Cureton said.

In her professional career, she has noticed most people will know someone they can reach out to, and people who are willing to talk with others about what they are going through are more equipped to get through difficult moments in their lives.

"There are so many ways that we can most definitely intervene and help. But the first thing is just to talk to someone. And so most people will know someone that they can reach out to," Cureton said. "(Talking with) a trusted friend, a counselor at school, a teacher, you can most definitely call the hotline 9-8-8."

If you or a loved one is in emotional distress, call or text the 9-8-8 hotline to speak with a professional. Help is always available. The Idaho Crisis and Suicide Hotline is also a valuable resource for those who need help.

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Travis Richards

Travis is a reporter and producer for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.


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