Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Continuing death prevention efforts on multiple fronts

I was at a meeting this noon and we were discussing possible “events” for April and Alcohol Awareness Month. The group is a mixed group of politicians, school representatives, folks from non-profits, and (most interestingly and appropriately) middle school students. The main focus of the group right now is underage drinking prevention. The input from the kids/teens was great. They had great ideas, ranging from possible initiatives to graphic design of the flyers and the like, and they were not afraid to express them. It is great to have their help and I think we can really get some successful stuff going with their help.

My meeting earlier today was our Lake County Suicide Prevention Task Force. Great discussions and I think the group was able to help with a couple of projects started and/or supported by some of our members. We discussed the growing collection of referral sources we are posting on the Lake County Coroner website for access and the possible expansion of uses for the locally developed/adapted “Project Safety N.E.T” (a program to help recognize and refer teens at risk for suicide). Besides their usefulness to families of decedent individuals that our office works with, it seems from our discussion that these will be helpful resources for Task Force members (and others in the community) seeking information for screening and referring folks locally. Also, “Project Safety N.E.T”, available on our website for use and distribution, will likely serve as a basis for a training project for folks outside of the schools that were original the target of “Project Safety N.E.T”, for example youth groups or as a part of parenting classes.

The other discussion we had was prompted by a young lady who lost someone to suicide recently. She had sent me a link to a posting on mydeathspace (link not provided, you’ll see why in a second). The posting was about the death by suicide of a young man that both she and young man’s family want removed from the site. Despite their efforts they have been unable to get it removed. I understand that the site can serve as a memorial, but it seems that it should be responsive and responsible to those closest to the deceased individual.

It is great that our office can serve as a resource, a catalyst, a “helper”, and sometimes a leader for change and ultimately death prevention.

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