LOSS to host suicide prevention presentation

September 23, 2018

A team of advocates will host seminars at Great Plains Health on Thursday in hopes of preventing suicide.

A 7 p.m. presentation is free and open to the community. It will be in Conference Room B at GPH, 601 W. Leota St.

Before that, a 3 p.m. seminar is for professionals: Police, sheriffs and deputies, state patrol, firefighters and those working in emergency medical services, dispatchers, nurses, physicians and counselors, said Jennifer Krajewski, team coordinator for the Southwest Nebraska LOSS Team. Professionals are asked to pre-register for the 3 p.m. session if possible, but walk-ins are welcome, Krajewski said.

“The concept of both of the sessions is to simply get the conversation (started) about suicide, suicide prevention and suicide post-vention,” Krajewski said.

She defined “post-vention” as any time someone comes in contact with someone who has had a loved one die of suicide.

“It could be friends, it could be family, it could be cousins, brothers or sisters,” Krajewski said.

According to statistics from the National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health in 2012, loved ones of someone who died by suicide were “1.6 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts, 2.9 times more likely to have a plan for suicide and 3.7 times more likely to have made a suicide attempt themselves.”

Donald P. Belau, who has a Ph.D., will be presenting on the effective use of a LOSS team. The LOSS acronym stands for Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors. Renae Zimmer, the coordinator for the South Central Nebraska LOSS team, will also present.

“It’s going to be a lot of statistics,” Krajewski said. “It’s going to be a lot of signs and symptoms of someone who might be suicidal.”

Krajewski said the team also hopes to reduce the stigma, so that “someone will reach out if they are having problems.”

Advocates will also introduce the Southwest Nebraska LOSS Team. The team consists of volunteers “who have either been directly or indirectly affected by suicide,” Krajewski said.

Medical professionals are also a part of the team, Krajewski said. Families suffering from a suicide or who feel someone may need help can give law enforcement permission to reach out to the LOSS team, Krajewski said.

“We then contact that family and arrange a time when we can come have a visit with them,” she said.

The concept of the LOSS team started in the South 12 years ago and began in Kearney about five years ago, Krajewski said. She hopes the North Platte region’s chapter of the team can “start the conversations,” she said: “Raise the awareness, and let people know the resources that are available in our town.”

Suicide isn’t new for Krajewski. Her brother died of suicide 20 years ago. Later, she made her own attempt.

For Thursday’s seminars, she has one hope.

“Ultimately we just need people to show up, and that’s the down and dirty of it,” she said. “A lot of times people believe these things aren’t happening in their communities.”

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