Western Colorado Community Foundation was proud to sponsor the Community Impact Council’s State of the Community event on October 21. Thank you KREX for the coverage

Community Impact Council tackles new ways to address mental health and suicide prevention in Mesa County

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo — Reducing suicide 20% by 2024, is the main point experts honed in on during the Community Impact Council.

They introduced a first-of-its-kind new framework designed to spread awareness and put the county on a better path to reduce suicides.

Jennifer Daniels, with School District 51, says, “the framework is, it’s like a roadmap for communities and it shows you kind of what you need in your community, what you need to support to create, you know lower suicide rates.”

In Mesa County, the opioid crisis, which also involves meth, has also caused a severe amount of pain for those struggling.

It has added just another layer to the number of deaths by suicide each year.

Daniels also says, “our substance use issues we have here in the county definitely hand and hand with suicide loss. Unfortunately, substances are a way to deal with unwanted mental health symptoms, it’s an unhealthy coping skill.”

City leaders also want to turn the page, through another new program called Grand Valley Connects.

Janet Rowland, Mesa County Commissioner, says, “it will offer comprehensive mental health information, but also help navigating the system. It’s more than just a referral source to share what’s available, but it will help people make appointments, get transportation if they need. If they come to a roadblock, it will help them press on until they get the help they need.”

Another call to action all panelists echoed is to ensure children and teens have a seat at the table moving forward, to really help understand some alarming new trends emerging among students of all ages.

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