MARQUETTE COUNTY — A local health department can now expand it’s youth suicide prevention programs thanks to a state grant. ABC 10’s Sarah Mac brings us the story.

“Suicide is the most preventable kind of death – and that is a good thing. That means that if we are able to intervene during a suicidal crisis, we can save a life.” says Marquette County Health Department Health Educator Sarah Derwin.

When Sarah Derwin says, “we” she really means it.

She says one major misconceptions about suicide prevention is that you have to be a professional, when really all you have to be is a good listener. Tips like these are taught in different suicide prevention programs across the county, and thanks to a grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Injury and Violence Prevention Unit the Marquette County Health Department can expand those training programs.

The health department was awarded more than $180,000 for the first year of a possibly four year grant.

The grant will help the health department with a multi year project starting with a pilot program in the Child and Adolescent Health Centers in Gwinn and Ishpeming Middle and High Schools.

“Any student or teacher, or anyone else that accesses those clinics would be screened for depression, possible suicidal behavior,” Derwin added, “and we’d be able to create a seamless system to funnel them into the care that they need so nobody would slip through the cracks.”

The grant defines children and youth as ages 12 to 24.

“We’re really going to try to blanket our county, Marquette County here in a lot of messaging, to, and encouraging health seeking behavior. We’re going to have PSA’s. We’re going to have a lot of resources available, So our plan is to capture that who age group as best as we can.”

The health department plans to service those ages not only through clinics but also through community work, like providing Gatekeeper and Assist suicide prevention training among other resources.

If you or someone you know needs it, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

There is also someone available to talk from Dial Help Community Support and Outreach Center at 1-906-482-HELP (4357)

There is also someone available from Dial Help Community Support and Outreach Center by text at 1-906-35-NEEDS (63337)

For more information about suicide prevention click here.

For more information about the Marquette County Health Department click here.