The revived Suicide Prevention Action Network, or SPAN, debuted in Kalamazoo on Tuesday, October 9. Kristen Smith is the coalition chairwoman for the initiative at Gryphon Place. Smith says SPAN includes people in the community and mental health providers dedicated to preventing suicide.
Smith says SPAN will focus on teaching the community how to get involved with suicide prevention. She says SPAN also wants to build connections in the community.
“Our tagline is actually prevention through connection. So we want to connect our community members with opportunities for education on how they can help prevent suicide in their backyard.”
Smith says suicide is never caused by just one problem. While she says educating the community to recognize the warning signs is important, connection-building is the top priority.
“We can’t do anything about our suicide rates if we aren’t working as a community to reduce them. And that’s why SPAN has reconvened.” Smith says SPAN will help those affected by attempted suicide get care.
“Suicide prevention is everybody’s business and it’s great that our local mental health providers want to work to collaborate on this work. But it’s even better that we engage people from every section of our community.”