News & Press
Seeking help is key to stopping suicides
By Nicholas Grenke
Posted Sep. 18, 2015 at 6:36 PM
Making sure that people who are thinking about suicide get the help they need can save a life, according to Ionia County Community Mental Health Chief Executive Officer Bob Lathers.
While 13 people have completed suicide in Ionia County so far in 2015, none of them were in contact with Ionia County Community Mental Health, Lathers said. The organization has a 24-hour, toll-free crisis assist line, 888-527-1790, and programs to help the people in the community who need it.
“Any mention of suicide is serious,” Lathers said. “If you can get here, we can help you. We have a record of intervening for people who feel suicide is the last option.”
According to the agency's files, Lather said, the organization pre-screened 229 people who were experiencing a severe psychotic crisis from Oct. 2014 to Aug. 2015. Of that, 159 people were screened for being suicidal.
“We were able to help them,” Lathers said. “One suicide in the community is one too many, but we're proud of our record.”
The organization has been a presence in Ionia County for 50 years now. During that time it has been collecting information on how it treats its patients.
In the last 10 years, 15 people who were being treated at the organization have completed suicide, according to information from Lathers.
“It's a tough job, but our people are trained to be the best,” Lathers said.
In addition to helping people who need help, the organization also teaches others in classes such as Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) to recognize the suicidal symptoms in their loved ones.
“We want to take the stigma of mental health treatment away,” Lathers said. “Sometimes people are facing a crisis and need help.”
For more information on Ionia County Community Mental Health services, call 616-527-1790. If you are having a crisis or thinking about suicide, call the 24-hour toll-free crisis assist line at 888-527-1790.