Improving Suicide Prevention in Larimer County — Groups Join Forces

Submitted by:
Alliance For Suicide Prevention of Larimer County

Sadly, Colorado consistently ranks in the top ten for highest suicide rates in the country. And with suicides in Larimer County steadily increasing over the last ten years, when compared to other Colorado counties, it now has the 6th highest number of suicide deaths in the State.

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In an effort to better serve the residents of Larimer County, the Alliance For Suicide Prevention of Larimer County, a local 501 (c) (3) focused on suicide awareness, education and grief support; and the Imagine Zero Coalition of Larimer County, a local community coalition focused on suicide prevention, are merging their organizations.

In operation for 30 years, the Alliance For Suicide Prevention of Larimer County has struggled to meet the increasing need for suicide prevention and awareness.

Recently, Scott Smith was hired as Executive Director to provide new leadership and steer the operation of the now combined two agencies. With a background in social work and program development Scott immediately began looking for creative new ways to improve and increase services and programming.

“Suicide is a community issue and must be approached in that way. Too often non-profits operate in silos and compete for funding” Smith said. “I would always rather collaborate that compete” so it was an obvious first step in the Alliance becoming the backbone agency for the Imagine Zero Coalition of Larimer County.

Approximately three years ago Imagine Zero of Larimer County, a community coalition was formed including an extremely broad demographic of people and organizations (over 40 organizations and 250 people) involved in suicide prevention and mental health in Larimer County. Participating groups include school administrators, mental health professionals, local city, and county agencies. The coalition meets at least quarterly, sharing information and plans to help keep all apprised of current suicide awareness information, strategies and activities in Larimer County. Additionally, Imagine Zero is the Larimer County contact point for the state Office of Suicide Prevention’s efforts called the Colorado National Collaborative, a state-wide effort to provide guidance and resources for the Colorado counties most impacted by suicide deaths.

Imagine Zero Coalition Coordinator, Rachel Olsen, said “By joining forces with the Alliance for Suicide Prevention, Imagine Zero now has a stable backbone to support its role as a community coalition, while also allowing for fundraising opportunities and long range stability, as a formal part of a local charitable organization.”

SummitStone Health Partners CEO Michael Allen said: “As long-time partners and supporters of both organizations, we view this merger as one that can only strengthen the resources available in our community. We look forward to our continued partnership with Imagine Zero and the Alliance as we work together to end suicide.”

Find out more about these organizations at these two websites:

http://www.allianceforsuicideprevention.org

https://imaginezerosuicide.org/

The Alliance For Suicide Prevention of Larimer County is having its annual Lifesaver’s Breakfast fundraiser on Tuesday, September 24 from 7:30am to 9:00am at Timberline Church.

Open to the public, to attend this free breakfast, please register at: www.allianceforsuicideprevention.org