Community invited to attend online suicide prevention conference this month

The 2018 suicide prevention conference. | Courtesy Community Suicide Prevention of Eastern Idaho.

POCATELLO — One local organization is hoping to help people recognize that suicide is preventable.

September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, and Community Suicide Prevention of Eastern Idaho is inviting community members to attend its annual conference. The day-long event that usually takes place in person will be online due to COVID-19. The conference is Sept. 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“(We want) to get people talking to help people understand that there are resources out there available for people who need help,” Southeastern Idaho Public Health Suicide Prevention Program Coordinator Rhonda D’Amico says.

A news release about the event indicates the goals of the conference are to increase knowledge about suicide, to reduce the stigma related to emotional health challenges and to challenge each attendee to take at least one action to reduce suicide.

The agenda includes talking about several items such as Idaho’s Suicide Prevention Plan, how to build in‐person connections in a virtual world, cultural perspectives on suicide and how youth are making a positive difference.

D’Amico says one of the highlights of the conference will be having Dr. Thomas Joiner as the keynote speaker. He is the author of Why People Die by Suicide.

“He is one of the nation’s leading researchers in why people die by suicide, and that is what he is going to be talking about,” she says. “He has a theory that a lot of suicide prevention efforts are based on, and it’s really easy to understand.”

The Idaho Suicide Prevention Program’s 2020 Fact Sheet, reports that Idaho had the fifth-highest suicide rate (23.8 suicides per 100,000) in the nation in 2018.

Southeastern Idaho consistently has the highest five‐year average rate (26.3 suicides per 100,000) in the state, a news release states.

D’Amico believes what will be taught at the conference can help play a part in lessening the number of suicides in Idaho.

“We’re hoping that they will learn some skills that will help them be more confident and knowledgeable in talking to individuals about suicide and other mental health disorders so that they can make a difference for others,” she explained.

For more information, including admission prices and to register for the conference, click here.