Denver marks World Suicide Prevention Day with a call to action

DENVER -- The city of Denver marked World Suicide Prevention Day on Monday with a call to action at the City and County Building.

Ben, 20, says he struggled with depression and thoughts of suicide for much of his life.

"I used to have suicidal thoughts daily," he said.

But, one day he got up the courage to call a suicide prevention hotline.

He was connected to resources and started getting help at Emerson Street for Teens and Young Adults with the Mental Health Center of Denver.

There, he was able to get counseling, get help with employment and school, and also have opportunities for things such as gardening and crafts.

"They really help me a lot there. It makes me feel like I’m at home, like as if there’s people who care about me," Ben said.

On Monday, Ben shared his story at a rally at the Denver City and County Building with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and other area leaders marking World Suicide Prevention Day.

"Suicide is not inevitable.  It is preventable, and prevention starts right here, right now, with all of us," Hancock said.

This is a serious issue for the mayor.

In the past five years, the city has lost four employees and two family members to suicide.  Deaths from suicide in the city have increased 14 percent.

The mayor wants to remind all of us there is help available through things like walk-in centers and crisis hotlines.

But Andrew Romanoff with Mental Health Colorado believes more work needs to be done.

"If we are serious about preventing suicide, we will hold insurers accountable, and make mental health care available, and affordable, and acceptable to everyone who  needs it, instead of forcing half a million Coloradans to go without treatment," he said.

Suicide resources

If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or depression, the following resources are available:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255): Speak with someone who will provide free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To learn how to help someone in crisis, call the same number.

Colorado Crisis Services Hotline (1-844-493-8255): If you are in crisis or need help dealing with one, call 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255 to speak to a trained professional. When calling Colorado Crisis Services, you will be connected to a crisis counselor or trained professional with a master’s or doctoral degree.

The Trevor Project (1-866-488-7386): A 24/7 resource for LGBT youth struggling with a crisis or suicidal thoughts. The line is staffed by trained counselors.

Colorado Crisis Services Walk-In Locations: Walk-in crisis service centers are open 24/7, and offer confidential, in-person crisis support, information and referrals to anyone in need.

Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline: (1-844-264-5437): The best resource for readers to report suspected child abuse and neglect.

The number serves as a direct, immediate and efficient route to all Colorado’s 64 counties and two tribal nations, which are responsible for accepting and responding to child abuse and neglect concerns. All callers are able to speak with a call-taker 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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