Spotlight on Amarillo Area Resources This Suicide Prevention Month | KAMR
AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — This September is Suicide Prevention Month, and Family Support Services and the Amarillo Police Department want people to know what resources are available and how to help someone in crisis.
Jennifer Potter, LOSS Coordinator at Family support servicessaid Suicide Prevention Month is a time to remind people that they are not alone in their struggles and that there is help available within our community.
“People just need to know where to go to reach out,” Potter said. “At Family Support Services, we have a plethora of information and community resources. We have support groups, we serve all populations including domestic violence. For defense services, we have a Veterans Resource Centre, a counseling and education service for prevention and for families. And then we also have our local Suicide Survivors Awareness Service, which is specifically for people who have lost someone to suicide.
Potter noted that there are also resources available for the LGBTQ+ population, including Smile Big TX and The Trevor Project.
Potter said if someone notices a change in another person’s behavior, don’t be afraid to speak up.
“If you have something wrong, don’t hesitate to ask the question: ‘Are you thinking about suicide? What can I do to help you?’ then ask for help if you don’t feel comfortable enough to help that particular person.
According to Potter, FSS has a toll-free 24-hour helpline for victims of domestic violence and anyone in trouble who doesn’t know where to go for help.
Call the FSS hotline at 806-374-5433.
Plus, anyone can call or text Suicide and lifeline in case of crisis at 988, a free telephone helpline accessible to anyone in a suicidal crisis or in emotional distress.
“There’s the Northwest Texas Behavioral Health Hospital for people in crisis,” Potter added. “Potter, Randall [Sheriff’s Departments]and the Amarillo Police Department all have specific crisis response teams if you feel you can’t adequately help someone.
sergeant. Carla Burr of the Amarillo Police Department said that while waiting for help to arrive when someone else is in crisis, the caller must also protect themselves.
“Someone who is in crisis, especially if they have a weapon, their emotions are very strong, and it could be dangerous for a citizen who is not trained…” Sgt. said Burr. “My first recommendation is to make sure they are in a safe place. If they cannot be in a safe place while they are still there, they should call 911, stay on the phone, and remove themselves from the situation.
sergeant. Burr said if anyone might want to help, they could put themselves in danger of becoming a victim or a hostage when the police were already on the way and could have helped.
“We strongly recommend that you remove yourself from the situation if you can’t make it safe. And if you can, continue to protect yourself. And then, you know, try to point things out to them and ask them about positive things in their life,” said. “We try to get them to think about something good by trying to, you know, get them to focus on not hurting themselves.”
sergeant. Burr said that usually once the person in crisis is able to talk to someone trained to deal with situations like theirs, they can see that the situation is likely not permanent.
“At that point, it’s the worst thing they can imagine that could happen, and that’s understandable, but we want them to see that there are still good things in their lives,” he said. said Sgt. Burr continued. “So we’re trying to highlight that and make them realize that there are things out there that even though it may affect them permanently, it may affect them permanently in a negative way, there’s still good things worth living for.”
Potter’s message to those thinking about suicide: “Don’t give up hope. Just give it some time and please reach out to your support person, whoever it is.
sergeant. Burr sits on a committee called the Texas Panhandle Suicide Prevention Coalitionwhich includes many community members, including partners from local school districts, VA Hospital, DHHS, FSS, and more.
Potter said the coalition’s goal is to bring together all suicide prevention advocates from all professions to study the statistics through an Amarillo-area Suicide Review Team.
“We actually go through past suicides that have happened and just see, are there any trends? Is there a policy change that needs to happen? What are we missing? And then it goes all the way to outreach opportunities,” Potter said.
These outreach opportunities include Suicide Survivor Support Dinner Friday, September 23 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Wolflin House and their Eliminate the stigma 5K walk and run on Saturday, September 24 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Thompson Park.
The coalition said the Stamp Out Stigma event will include a resource fair, food trucks, community connections and activities for children.