LOCAL GROUPS TO HOLD SUICIDE ROUNDTABLE

By NATHAN BROWN

Community groups plan to hold a roundtable in Rexburg in a week-and-a-half to talk about suicide prevention and helping people struggling with suicidal thoughts.

“We just feel that we’ve had so much of this type of a tragedy in our families and in our communities at large,” said Alethea Cox, chief operating officer of Building Hope Today, a local nonprofit that works to raise awareness of childhood sexual abuse. “I don’t think that there’s a better time than now to have those conversations.”

Other groups that plan to take part include VOICE Advocacy, Rexburg’s Family Crisis Center and Madison Memorial Hospital. Topics that are expected to be discussed include suicide risk factors, signs and triggers, support and resources available in the community and resilience and self-direction, according to the Facebook event listing.

The roundtable will be at 1 p.m. Oct. 21 at Madison High School.

Idaho consistently has one of the highest suicide rates in the country, and eastern Idaho often has a higher suicide rate than some other parts of the state. Idaho had the country’s fifth-highest rate of suicides by population in 2015, according to the state Department of Health and Welfare, and in 2016 Public Health District 6, which includes Pocatello and eight counties in the southeastern corner of the state, had the second-highest rate in the state at 25.2 suicides per 100,000 residents, or 43 people who took their own lives. District 7, which includes Idaho Falls and eight northeastern counties, had the lowest suicide rate in the state in 2016 with 32 suicides, or 14.8 per 100,000, down from third-highest in the state 23.4 per 100,000 the year before.

Cox said she hopes the statistics will help people who attend the roundtable understand how big of a problem suicide is, and also that the event will help people to “see sunlight in terms of solutions, ways we can be better with community support for individuals.”

“I think collaborative efforts, people coming together is always more powerful than one individual trying to do things completely on their own,” she said.