BC to host Suicide Prevention Symposium on Nov. 6

BC to host Suicide Prevention Symposium on Nov. 6

Thu Sep 24, 2015

United Way, county Mental Health Task Force team up with local college to raise awareness, offer training

 Suicide prevention is everybody’s business.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the suicide death rate for Brazoria County is higher than the suicide death rate for the state of Texas. Sadly, Brazoria County’s death rate from suicide is one of the highest in Texas.

This is an issue that needs to be addressed, and the first step is to raise awareness. As a result, a number of local agencies are teaming up to highlight prevention programs, offer training and inform the public about suicide prevention.

Brazosport College will host the 2015 Brazoria County Suicide Prevention Symposium from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6 at Gator Hall on the Brazosport College campus.

The event, sponsored by the United Way, the Mental Health Task Force of Brazoria County, Brazosport College and others, will bring Brazoria County youth and adults together to urge people to action. Participants include schools, the faith community, law enforcement agencies, mental health professionals, health professionals, community agencies, business professionals and interested citizens.

“Effective prevention engages people at risk before a suicidal crisis occurs,” said Beverly Bernzen, past chair of the Texas Suicide Prevention Council. “There are many simple things people can do to help prevent suicides. You can save the number for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline in your phone right now, 1-800-273-TALK (8255). It may help you save a life.

Using gunlocks on personal firearms and removing unused drugs by taking advantage of prescription drug take backs at our local police stations are effective ways to prevent suicide,” she added. “These are some of the practical skills we will be highlighting in this symposium.”

With the Suicide Prevention Symposium, local agencies are coming together with a goal of inspiring people to create an impact in a collaborative, coordinated way.

"At UWBC, we actively collaborate with community partners to address issues that affect this county,” said Gloria Luna, Director of Community Outreach, United Way of Brazoria County. “We’ve continually heard about suicide rates and we want to be part of a solution and a healthier community.

The symposium will also feature passionate presenters and prevention programs. Among the presenters scheduled to appear are Dr. Tom Ellis, Menninger Clinic senior psychologist; Jennifer Battle, LMSW, Harris Center HelpLine Director; and Murphy Roland, Texas Community Coordinator for Army One, SCSC. Bernzen, LCSW, and others will teach participants basic community suicide prevention skills. The symposium will spotlight local high school and college students currently engaged in prevention efforts.

Symposium registration is $35 and includes breakfast, lunch and 6 CEUs. Registration for full time students is $15. The registration deadline is Oct. 23, 2015. For more information about the 2015 Brazoria County Suicide Prevention Symposium, contact Gloria Luna at (979) 849-9402 or gluna@uwbc.org.