Gateway: Opinion

SafeTALK training a valuable tool in helping to prevent suicides

I first heard about the Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula Youth Suicide Prevention Coalition in September of last year. I went to a board meeting to learn more about what the coalition does and what its mission is. I have attended every meeting since. I fell in love with the work the organization does and what it stands for.

The organization does a great job in reaching out to the community and providing resources that were practically nonexistent in the area less than 20 years ago. The safeTALK trainings the coalition offers multiple times a month, for example, are an extraordinary resource. The safeTALK trainings are only a few hours long but they teach the invaluable skill set it takes to recognize the signs of suicidal ideation and how to connect the individual to potentially lifesaving resources.

Suicide and thoughts of suicide are much more prevalent in the Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula area than most recognize or are willing to share about. Many people in fact unknowingly share the connection of being effected by suicide in some shape or form, but there is great stigma attached to the topic so no one wants to talk about it. I realized this after joining the Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula Youth Suicide Prevention Coalition and now I see the devastating effect it has on our community.

The safeTALK training is a wonderful tool unlike anything I have ever experienced. Not only did it help me to recognize the signs of suicide and educate me in the services available for those who are contemplating taking their own life, it showed me the importance of being a connected community.

After getting a certificate upon completing the short training, I feel empowered and capable to support someone who is in such a low point in their life that they are considering putting an end to it all.

The simple methods that are taught in safeTALK trainings made me realize that I have the power to reach out, genuinely care about my community, and make a huge impact in someone’s life. If you are interested in learning more about such opportunities, you can learn more at the Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula Youth Suicide Prevention Coalition’s Facebook page.

We all have our ups and downs, but by bonding together as a community and educating ourselves on the resources available, we can Harbor what it takes and unlock the Key to make our area a stronger, supportive community.