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MC suicide prevention group reorganizes, moves forward with projects

Times-News - 1/12/2019

Jan. 12--BURLEY -- A suicide prevention group in Mini-Cassia is reorganizing with a new name.

The Mini-Cassia Chapter of the Suicide Prevention Action Network lost its state affiliation when the state group announced it would disband in March, but is forging ahead as Mini-Cassia Suicide Prevention, Awareness and Support.

The group announced the name change Wednesday and talked about the legal aspects of reorganizing along with upcoming priorities.

The chapter launched April under the umbrella of SPAN of Idaho, which had been in existence for almost 17 years and had 11 regional chapters. The group has formed three committees, prevention, awareness and support and subcommittees will be assigned specific projects.

"We are bringing together people with a lot of energy and resources," member Sheri Allred said. "I think if we talk to the right people and make our voices heard we can make things happen."

The area needs a brick-and-mortar crisis center that can help people find resources for suicide prevention. Member Mick Hodges will compile a list of resources.

Hodges, a Cassia County judge, said it is unfortunate that many resources are only available through the judicial system.

Board member Kim Bedke said the group needs to work on establishing aftercare for suicide survivors and their families.

"We want a support group," Bedke said. "Because we know from the experts that death by suicide is different from any other kind of death."

Chuck Driscoll, who heads the support committee and sits on the board, asked for funds to purchase 10 care baskets that will be given to families after a suicide. Donations are needed for the baskets, which will include a blanket or robe, teddy bears for children in the family and other care items. Information on how to find counselors or support groups will be included.

"We want to fill it with things people need when they are hurting and need comfort," Driscoll said.

The group members who are sent out to visit families will guide them to counselors or services where they can find professional mental health care.

Driscoll said they will work with funeral homes to get the names of families who may benefit from the service and the families will give consent to release their names to the organization.

Some support groups are headed by people who have experienced suicide in their family and not by professionals, Bedke said.

There are a couple of support groups already operating in Mini-Cassia, but there is room for many support groups in the community, she said.

The organization also needs someone to create a brand or logo and it needs someone to write and submit grants.

"We need to be an army fighting this," Bedke said.

Anyone is welcome to attend the group's next meeting at 4 p.m.Feb. 20 at 1950 Hansen Ave., Burley.

To help with projects call Gail Gallegos at 208-312-1597.

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