Start Talking Network Article in Mountain Connection

Mountain Connection Article and Ad July 2011  (click on link)

Start Talking Network Article

Does this look like the smile of a man who took his life six months later? It’s still hard to believe.  My name is Kimberly Karsell. I tragically and helplessly lost my dear sweet husband, Tom, in January 2010.

 We struggled to understand the changes that occurred in him. We struggled to know how we could help him. We absolutely struggled finding him the professional help he so desperately needed. We were not successful. No one should suffer the same experience.

Over the past 18 months, I have partnered with fellow survivors, the Carson J Spencer Foundation, numerous health care providers, supporters and volunteers forming a charity called The Start Talking Network. Our goal is to connect people to a variety of resources… local health care, education opportunities, support groups and activities. Our online resource guide is supported by the residents and professionals of the community, to help people “be better” and prevent suicide.

What we’ve learned: Our small mountain town of nearly 10,000 citizens has known of 22 suicides in the past 18 months. That’s one out of every 410 people. Did you know Colorado is ranked sixth in the nation for suicide deaths and has consistently been in the top 10 for decades? We, like most foothill communities, have many risk factors… economic distress, isolation and addiction challenges, all of which lead to depression.

Most people do not know the risk factors or warning signs, how to discuss the topic with each other, how to refer someone who is struggling to available health care, or how to support someone throughout a crisis, treatment and recovery.

What are the facts?
Fact: The most at risk…75% of suicides are men of working age, and elderly men have the highest suicide rate per demographic. Between 2000 and 2009, there were 381 known child/teen deaths (ages 10-18) in Colorado.
Fact: Suicide happens much more often than most people are aware. For every two homicides there are three suicides, and yet with the media coverage for homicide you’d expect the reverse to be true. In many areas, there are more deaths from suicide than there are to motor vehicle crashes. A tremendous amount of money is put toward road care, safe driver enforcement and vehicle safety, and yet very little is dedicated to suicide awareness, prevention and intervention.

Fact: More Americans suffer from depression than coronary heart disease, cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people who suffer from depression will never get help. Depression is a leading cause of suicide.

Fact: A suicide completion happens about once every 16 minutes, and a suicide attempt occurs about once a minute. Between 12% to 20% of people have seriously considered suicide at some point in their lives.
Fact: There are almost always warning signs, but others are often unaware of their significance or do not know what to do. Almost all people who eventually die by suicide have given some clue or warning. When suicidal threats are not taken seriously, the person may conclude no one cares.

Fact: Most suicidal people are ambivalent, wavering until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die. For example, people in a suicidal crisis frequently call for help immediately following a suicide attempt. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever. Suicide is preventable.

Fact: We have many challenges…the stigma surrounding words like mental health and suicide, access to qualified and/or affordable care and lack of education for the general public and health care professionals.

Join us. Join the movement. Everyone can play a role in helping others and preventing suicide. Volunteer. Donate. Invite us to conduct training in your workplace, faith group or other community groups.
Join us at our 2nd annual Give for Life FEST. See the ad below and visit our website at StartTalkingNetwork.com for more information Together we can save smiles. Help yourself or someone you know. Just START TALKING!!!