Suicide statistic surprises local audience

2014-02-20T00:15:00Z 2014-02-20T23:44:49Z Suicide statistic surprises local audience Montana Standard

Another prevention training planned

Big Butte Kiwanis members gasped when told a staggering statistic. In a typical classroom, an average of three students has attempted suicide in the past year.

“If we fear suicide and keep our heads in the sand, we’re not going to get anywhere,” guest speaker Sgt. Jimm Kilmer with the Butte police told the group Wednes-day.

“I’m a firm believer that we can all do something,” he added.

In the wake of three teen suicides in Butte in past months, increased efforts of suicide education and prevention have started. Training will continue next week when Montana suicide prevention coordinator Karl Rosston returns to Butte to work with

elementary school

teachers. Rosston originally came to town in January for sessions with educators, students and the community as whole.

For the last 35 years, the Treasure State has been near the top of the nation in the rate of people taking their lives.

Talking with someone contemplating harming themselves is one of the best ways to deal with the situation, Kilmer said.

“Bringing up suicide is not going to plant the seed. Don’t hesitate to bring up the topic of suicide,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to ask, please.”

Kilmer touted the use of the QPR approach or question, persuade and refer.

Police are generally the first responders to suicides and suicide threats.

“If you have somebody you’re trying to help and you can’t — call us. If you fear they will get aggressive — call us,” he said.

Gunshots are the most common way people in Montana commit suicide, Kilmer said.

“Believe me, we like our guns and we like our booze. Then you throw those two together,” he told the group.

Kilmer encourages gun owners to put locks on the weapon’s trigger. Such locks are available at the police department.

“Let’s lock them up,” he said.

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