Local groups come together to prevent suicide - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Local groups come together to prevent suicide

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KWWL -

Several local groups are hoping they can achieve more together to fight the national rise of suicide, than they ever could apart. 

Still in its infancy, the Cedar Valley Suicide Prevention and Support Coalition met June 1st to begin brainstorming ideas on how they can help prevent someone from taking their own life. Two of the men who attended that meeting, say talking about suicide and mental illness still carries a stigma. 

"We talk so openly about behavioral health issues right now but still suicide for whatever reason seems to be taboo," said Chris Latta, the Director of Behavioral and Emergency Services at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo. 

"It is a life or death matter," said Nathan Schutt with Cedar Valley Hospice. 

Thirty-six groups came together to start the Cedar Valley Suicide Prevention and Support Coalition.

Latta and Schutt agree that despite a recent report by the Center for Disease Control,  saying the suicide rate has risen over 30% in Iowa, the conversation is lagging. 

"One of the reasons I think its very stigmatized is the nature of the death, people don't want to talk about it, people don't know what to say to someone who has lost someone to suicide," said Schutt. 

Cedar Valley Hospice sponsors a weekly support group for those who have lost someone to suicide. 

Schutt says he hopes the coalition can play to everyone's strengths. 

"Not everybody can do prevention, not everybody can do fundraising, not everyone can do grief support. But everybody can do a little bit of something," said Schutt. 

"Whether its service providers, whether its clergy, whether its legislators we all play a role in keeping our community members safe.  And we all play a role in bringing this conversation forward," said Latta.

For more information on the Cedar Valley Hospice support group click here. 

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide there are additional resources through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. They can be reached here or by calling 1-800-273-8255.

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