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Answer the cry for help: Suicide prevention means restricting lethal means and using available resources

By Lailani Upham

Jack Wright, PhD gave a free lecture on “Four Interactive Factors of Happiness” on Thursday, Jan. 30 at the Polson Tribal Health conference room as one of the CSKT Circle of Trust efforts on suicide prevention and intervention and to help educate and encourage meaningful dialogue in the community. (Lailani Upham photo)Jack Wright, PhD gave a free lecture on “Four Interactive Factors of Happiness” on Thursday, Jan. 30 at the Polson Tribal Health conference room as one of the CSKT Circle of Trust efforts on suicide prevention and intervention and to help educate and encourage meaningful dialogue in the community. (Lailani Upham photo)

POLSON — Suicide has historically been seen as a permanent solution to a temporary problem, says Roxana Colman-Herak, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Circle of Trust Partners in Prevention Coordinator.

“Our program has evolved through community efforts with a special focus on prevention and intervention supports.”

Nearly every month the Circle of Trust Partners in Prevention and Intervention program host free community meetings to bring support, understanding and activities to folks as a source of resources, according to Colman-Herak.

At the meeting last month nearly 30 people attended to listen in on Dr. Jack Wright’s wisdom from his book, “Four Interactive Factors of Happiness” and his perspectives on the realities that tend to guide life choices.

Wright’s philosophy says, happiness on its own isn’t something that unfolds without a fundamental understanding of what it is, where to get it and why it is important to deeply explore its meaning.

Colman-Herak says, “Suicide is a topic we take seriously because it is a serious problem that plagues our country. Our goal is to help provide families, friends, loved ones resources and help numbers as well as offering classes in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills trainings, QPR trainings, Mindfulness, Healthy Relationships and Positive Indian Parenting. Prevention is more than ‘one thing’ it is a community collaboration effort. Life will always bring challenges, obstacles, suffering, joy, peace, love and the one fact that we will all share is loss.”

The Circle of Trust staff agrees that the range of suicide is wide and sweeping and has no boundaries, it crosses social status, race, religious, culture, financial status.

Stressful life issues, such finances, relationships and other unpredictable factors are typically seen as contributors. Drugs and alcohol abuse can also compound the situation, adds Colman-Herak.

One understanding that leads to such a fatal choice is that people who try to commit suicide are often trying to get away from a life situation that seems impossible to deal with. Many who make a suicide attempt are seeking relief from:
   • Feeling ashamed, guilty, or like a burden to others
   • Feeling like a victim
   • Feelings of rejection, loss, or loneliness

Things to be aware of and know: suicidal behaviors can strike when a situation or event seems overwhelming to a person, such as:
   • Aging (the elderly have the highest rate of suicide)
   • Death of a loved one
   • Dependence on drugs or alcohol
   • Emotional trauma
   • Serious physical illness
   • Unemployment or money problems

Circle of Trust staff assures that all can make a difference in their communities by reducing access to lethal means. “The Circle of Trust Program has given away more than 3500 gunlocks in since 2007 when the Circle of Trust program began with its first SAMHSA grant award,” she stated.

However, data reports that most suicide attempts do not result in death. Many attempts are done in a way that actually makes rescue possible.

Staff reveals these attempts can often be a cry for help. Folks should know what to do when hearing someone may be struggling with thoughts of suicide are important to know.

Below are a list of means to call:

Emergency — 911
Tribal Law & Order — (406) 675-4700
National Lifeline — (800) 273-8255
Tribal Behavioral Health — (406) 745-3525
CSKT Tribal Police — (406) 675-4700
St. Joseph Hospital (Polson) — (406) 883-5377
St. Luke Hospital (Ronan) — (406) 676-4441
Kalispell Regional Center — (406) 752-1733
CSKT THD Behavioral Health — (406) 745-3525
Western MT Mental Health — (406) 532-9170
Helping Hands - Polson — (406) 883-8256
Safe Harbor — (406) 676-0800
Western MT Addiction Serv. — (406) 883-7310
24 hour Domestic Violence — (406) 542-1944
Lake County Sheriff — (406) 883-7301
CSKT Social Services — (406) 675-2700
CSKT DHRD — (406) 675-2700
Mission Valley Vets Center — (406) 370-2689
CSKT Veterans Rep. — (406) 675-4137
Veterans Lifeline (# dial 1) — (800) 273-8255
Disabled Veterans Van — (406) 207-1496
CSKT Warriors Society — (406) 544-0098
Child Abuse/Neglect — (866) 820-5437
Montana Warm Line — (877) 688-3377
National VA Homeless — (877) 424-3838
Girls & Boys Town Hotline — (800) 448-3000

Next PSPI meeting will be on March 20, at 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Tribal Health Building 3rd floor conference room. Lunch is provided.

Lake Country Sheriff Dan Yonkin will be the guest speaker on topic of Social Media Bullying and Meth Problems.

For more information, please contact Roxana Colman-Herak, GBG-Mindfulness-ASIST Master Trainer at (406) 675-2700, Ext. 1361; or Jason Heavyrunner, Circle of Trust Program (406) 675-2700, Ext. 1340.

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