Community forum on suicide prevention planned for Nov. 17

The Carver County Mental Health Consortium announced during World Suicide Prevention Week last week that its upcoming Suicide Prevention Community Forum will feature a nationally recognized speaker.

Dr. Dan Reidenberg, the Executive Director of SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices in Education) will deliver the keynote address at the Suicide Prevention Forum scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 17, at Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia. Reidenberg is the Managing Director of the National Council for Suicide Prevention and the U.S. representative to the International Association of Suicide Prevention.

The event is the first community forum to come out of the Mental Health Consortium, which was formed by the county’s Crisis Mental Health Team in response to a request from community leaders and residents reacting to recent suicide deaths and attempts in their communities.

The Crisis Mental Health Team responded to 233 actual suicide attempts in 2011 and 650 situations involving suicidal ideation or threats. There were eight suicide deaths in Carver County in 2010 and nine suicide deaths in 2011, and eight suicides were reported in the first six months of 2012.

While Carver County currently has crisis intervention and outpatient services and mental health advisory bodies, organizers recognized the need for a community group that can be pro-active in addressing issues related to mental health and suicide. The Mental Health Consortium was formed and began meeting in May. Its current structure includes the Administrative Team, which consists of representatives from key community agencies, and a Community Action Team that is in the process of being formed.

The goals of the Mental Health Consortium include developing a communications infrastructure on mental health issues and sponsoring quarterly educational forums and the development of Critical Incident Intervention Teams to serve local communities. The Consortium will serve as an advisory body on best practices and will vet financial resources to support its vision.

For more information on the Mental Health Consortium or the Nov. 17 Suicide Prevention Community Forum, please call the Consortium’s meeting facilitator, Carver County Health Navigator Shawna Vivant, at 952-442-3058 or email svivant@co.carver.mn.us.

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