Sharing the story of surviving a suicide attempt or losing a loved one to suicide can help bring others hope and healing.
“It doesn’t have to be this scary, unspoken taboo,” said Emma Harmon, a suicide-attempt survivor and Durango resident.
Harmon attempted to take her own life in 2014 and at first was ashamed to talk about it. But since then, she has used her story to share messages of hope.
“I think the more you talk about it, it makes it more of a conversation. ... It doesn’t seem so big and scary,” said Harmon, who now works for the health department, but not in suicide prevention.
Next week, San Juan Basin Public Health will hold a training for those who would like to learn how to share their experience with suicide and help prevent deaths by suicide across the community, said Laura Warner, the agency’s deputy director of operations.
By training more residents to talk about their experiences, the health department hopes to spread positive messages, Warner said.
“Help is available, and it’s possible to heal and move on from suicidal thoughts,” she said.
The training can help suicide survivors feel more comfortable talking about it in one-on-one settings or with larger groups, Warner said.
Leah Harris, a writer, activist, and suicide attempt survivor, will lead the training.
In 2018, she won the Paul G. Quinnett Lived Experience Writing Contest and her work is included in the recently released anthology, “We’ve Been Too Patient.”
She also works as a trainer and curriculum developer with the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors and she is a faculty member with Zero Suicide Initiative, created to provide safer care in hospital settings.
The training will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 12 at the Durango Community Recreation Center in the Sunlight Room, 2700 Main Ave. The training is free.
Participants will not be expected to talk about their personal experiences.
To RSVP, contact Kate Jones at email@example.com or 335-2084.