September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and Mesa County residents can show their support at the Grand Junction Farmers Market on Thursday, Sept. 7 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. by pledging to #BeThe1To.

Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) has been working with School District 51 and Colorado Mesa University (CMU) on a Community Chain of Connectedness. The paper chain allows community members to write on paper what they will do to make connections with each other, in turn helping with suicide prevention in their schools and their communities. Market goers will have the chance to contribute to the paper chain by writing their #BeThe1To pledge on a strip of paper and stapling it to the existing chain.

Some examples of how you can #BeThe1To include:

  • #BeThe1To Ask
    • Ask the tough question.
    • When somebody you know is in emotional pain, ask them directly: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?”
  • #BeThe1To Keep Them Safe
    • Is your friend thinking about suicide?
    • Ask if they’ve thought about how they would do it and separate them from anything they could use to hurt themselves.
  • #BeThe1To Be There
    • If your friend is thinking about suicide, listen to their reasons for feeling hopeless and in pain.
    • Listen with compassion and empathy and without dismissing or judging.
  • #BeThe1To Help Them Connect
    • Help your friend connect to a support system, whether it’s Crisis Text Line, 800-273- TALK(8255), family, friends, clergy, coaches, co-workers or therapists, so they have a network to reach out to for help.
  • #BeThe1To Follow Up
    • Check in with the person you care about on a regular basis.
    • Making contact with a friend in the days and weeks after a crisis can make a difference in keeping them alive.

Representatives from School District 51, MCPH, Suicide Prevention Alliance of Mesa County, St. Mary’s Medical Center, Hopewest, Counseling Education Center, NAMI Western Slope, CMU, Mind Springs, Heartbeat, Hilltop and VA Medical Center will be on-site to talk with community members about suicide prevention and education in Mesa County.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, text “CO” to 741741 to talk with a trained Crisis Text Line Crisis Counselor. It’s free, 24/7 and it’s confidential.