September: Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

The Mental Health Center of Denver is a trauma-informed organization. This means we understand, recognize and respond to the trauma that impacts the people we serve and our community. We keep trauma in mind when designing our buildings, providing services and speaking about topics such as suicide.

How to Speak About Suicide: Language is Important

It’s important take a trauma-informed approach when discussing emotional topics like suicide. The language we use can help decrease stigma, shame and judgement.

“Committed Suicide” and “Successful and/or Unsuccessful Suicide” are common phrases, but there are a few problems with using this language.

  • “Committed Suicide” can imply that someone engaged in a criminal behavior. For example, a person “committed” a crime. Historically, people who attempted suicide in the U.S. faced legal penalties. This still applies to some countries today, such as Singapore, Uganda and Ghana.
  • “Successful and/or Unsuccessful Suicide” can suggest that suicide is an accomplishment.

Instead, use language such as “death by suicide” or “suicide attempt.” The more we can use language that accurately and sensitively describes suicide, the more we encourage a healthy and respectful way to talk about it.

Zero Suicide Initiative

zero suicideThe Mental Health of Denver is in the process of implementing a new system-wide approach designed to reduce and even eliminate deaths by suicide called Zero Suicide. This approach is being adopted throughout the U.S., and the world.

Colorado uses this program in both primary care and behavioral health settings. Last June, Governor Hickenlooper signed a bill (SB 16-147) into law that created a state suicide prevention plan, modeled on the Zero Suicide approach.

As a result, there has been as high as an 80% reduction in suicide rates among people served within healthcare systems.

How to Get Involved

So, how can you get involved? Sign up for a community walk to fight suicide!

Join the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Walk.

Date: Saturday, September 23
Time: Registration begins at 8:30 am, and the walk is from 10 am to noon.
Location: Coors Field

Click here to register.

You can also become certified in Mental Health First Aid. See a list of courses offered by the Mental Health Center of Denver here.

Need Help Now? 

colorado crisis servicesIf you are in crisis or need help dealing with one, call this toll-free number 1-844-493-TALK (8255) to speak to a trained professional or text TALK to 38255.

In addition, Colorado Crisis Services operates five walk-in crisis centers across the metro Denver area. These centers are open 24/7, and offer confidential, in-person crisis support, information and referrals to anyone in need. Click here for more information.

Or, to schedule a first-time appointment at the Mental Health Center of Denver for yourself, your child or a loved one, contact our Access Center by calling (303) 504-7900 or email AccessCenter@mhcd.org.