A group of about 30 people gathered Tuesday evening at the Durango Community Recreation Center for continued discussion about suicide prevention in Southwest Colorado.
The meeting was facilitated by Southern Ute Community Action Programs and included a mix of concerned community members and representatives from organizations such as San Juan Basin Public Health and Axis Health System.
"The purpose tonight is to get people's ideas and input about how the community should respond," said Peter Tregilllus, SUCAP program developer. "There is a lot of positive energy in this community. We had an excellent turnout at the summit and the awareness is really high."
The meeting started with an open-microphone session where attendees could voice their opinions on the May 11 suicide prevention summit at Miller Middle School.
Speakers were passionate and shared two similar takeaways from the summit: The discussion of mental health and suicide should be at the forefront of the community's agenda and should start earlier in schools. In attendance was the family of Cody Ledford, the 14-year-old Durango boy who committed suicide in May.
"My son got sex education, drug education and bullying education in school, but not once did he get educated on mental health," said Cody's mother, Rhonda. "The schools need to add a mental health program to their education. They tiptoe around mental health and depression with our youth."
The group was in agreement that mental health education should start as early as fifth grade. The issue of gun-control laws also was deliberated, along with making changes to Epic Day programs. Epic Days are events held at schools that are designed to address the issues of bullying, trauma, substance abuse and suicide.
Ultimately, the group vowed to continue to strive for a solution to the suicides in the community through partnerships, further meetings and discussions.