By Amanda Merriman
September is national Suicide Prevention Awareness month and is an opportunity to open the dialogue about this issue that impacts communities nationwide. Douglas County has taken a proactive, multi-faceted approach to addressing suicide prevention through school-based programs like Youth Education and Safety in Schools (Y.E.S.S. – see related story Here to help and serve – Y.E.S.S.), in addition to Text-A-Tip and Safe2Tell. These programs have experienced great success in helping students deal with the stressors unique to their generation.
Locally, there are champions for this cause as well. Castle Pines Village resident Wendy Ingraham would like to bring our community together to bolster and extend this support for suicide prevention for students outside of school, where some may be reluctant to seek help. Ingraham, an accomplished professional athlete of more than 20 years has directed some of her innate passion into this issue. This is a subject close to Ingraham’s heart, as she lost three friends to suicide two years ago. Ingraham stated that, “Depression is a disease, and, unfortunately, there is not enough education out there to help those in need.” She is determined to break down the stigma associated with these issues. Always on the search for “a niche to build awareness” as Ingraham puts it, she is on the lookout for connections to help develop programs for our teens in the community such as exercise, cooking and horseback riding. In fact, Ingraham was involved in planning the annual Color Me Wild Run (which was held on August 28 during the Party in the Pines weekend as a part of the Run Wild event at Elk Ridge Park), and one-hundred percent of this year’s proceeds went to the Y.E.S.S. program. Ingraham was excited for the Color Me Wild Run as she remarked, “It is kids helping kids.”
As we move through September, Ingraham would encourage the Castle Pines community to seek out ways to help increase awareness for suicide prevention. Visit https://www.dcsdk12.org/suicide-prevention for information about suicide prevention and resources. For those in immediate danger of potentially harming themselves, it is best to call 911. The Colorado Crisis Center is available 24/7 for those struggling with thoughts of suicide and can be reached at 1-844-493-TALK (8255).