Localized Suicide Intervention Available
A localized suicide and crisis intervention phone service is now available in the area. People in need can call 406-653-2000 anytime to receive assistance. “We started about a month ago,” trainer Jeromy Christiansen said. “It’s for anybody, any age, any race.”
When people call, they will be talking with a crisis intervention specialist. Services are available 24 hours a day. Officials are on site from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. When people call during the night, the call goes to Christiansen’s cell phone.
“It’s to be there in crisis for them, to help find them services we can take them to at that moment,” Christiansen said.
He hopes to reach out to community organizations and schools to teach them how to respond to people with suicidal thoughts.
“My goal is to train 10,000 people in five years,” Christiansen said. “I will go anywhere, even out of the reservation to train.”
He wants people to discuss their problems if they are suicidal. “It’s a normal feeling to have, but you have to talk about it,” he noted.
The public had an opportunity to discuss the topic during a safeTALK program presented at the Sherman Inn in Wolf Point on Thursday, Sept. 9. The program was sponsored by a Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention grant.
Audience members noted that because of the strong traditional beliefs in western society that people put their best face forward and don’t express their true feelings.
The group noted that it’s important that people know that there’s someone they can call for assistance.
They discussed the TALK principles of Tell, Ask, Listen and KeepSafe.
“Tell” stresses to tell someone you trust about any personal things that concern you and thoughts of suicide. It also encouraged creating a climate where people with mental health problems or thoughts of suicide are encouraged to tell others and receive appropriate care.
“Ask” stresses asking about things you observe that concern you and suicide. Invite questions or disclosures about threats to life and well being which people might otherwise be afraid to either name or discuss.
“Listen” stresses to listen for links between suicide and mental well-being. Also listen for stressful events contributing to any past suicide acts. Hear what people have in mind such as how their current feelings may be affecting their well being.
“KeepSafe” urges safety from self-harm and suicide until further help and support is available and accessed. Also provide safety through an accepting environment where people can trust enough to explore fears and to entertain hopes about their mental health, problems in living and decisions to stay alive.