Colorado AG's office starts new initiative for teen suicide prevention

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- On Tuesday, Colorado Attorney General's office announced two new state-wide initiatives for teen suicide prevention.

The money isn't just being spent on the Front Range either. Up to 40 schools in Colorado will be getting new suicide prevention programs.

"Just like we know that a disease process can spread through a social network, so can positive things like resiliency, and hope, and connections and help-seeking behaviors," said Scott LoMurray with Sources of Strength.

The Attorney General's office is giving $200,000 for those schools, which have yet to be determined, to be put into effect the Sources of Strength program.

"We come in and we train and empower diverse peer leaders supported by caring connected adult advisers," LoMurray said.

That means kids help other kids by creating a welcoming and supportive environment at school.

"Adults can talk as much as they want, but kids hear it from each other," said Cathy Ebel the prevention services coordinator for School District 51 in Mesa County.

Sources of Strength has been in a few schools in District 51 for the past four years, but it was supported by a grant that ran out last year.

"I think our kids feel good about being the messengers and being part of the solution," Ebel said. "So this year thankfully we're getting support from the Attorney General's office to have schools trained in sources of strength."

Sources of Strength isn't the only initiative the Attorney General's office is pushing out for Colorado. They'll be providing close to another $200,000 to research trends and patterns in suicide behaviors in four Colorado counties, Mesa County is one of them. La Plata, El Paso and Pueblo counties are the others.

"We don't want kids to feel like they're responsible for other people's mental health, what we do want and what kids want is 'how do I know' and 'what do I do if I find out,'" Ebel said.

Sources of Strength stands for the different ways kids can feel connected and find their strength, some of those include healthy activities, mentors and positive friends and family support.

Last summer, District 51 also passed a board measure that every child from 3rd through 12th grades will have access to a crisis counselor.

For anyone experiencing crisis, they can call 1-844-493-TALK (8255).

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