Establishing a framework for trainings, 24/7 Crested Butte local hotline and meeting space
By Cayla Vidmar
CB Hope, a grassroots organization made up of community members and mental health professionals that addresses suicide issues in the community, continues to gain momentum as we move into summer. Next steps include establishing the local, 24/7 hotline that will give callers access to mental health professionals and an option for 24/7 in-person assistance at Dr. Tom Moore’s office in Mt. Crested Butte.
“We’re just trying to flood the community with information and ways to get help,” says Nancy Osmundson, one of the founders of CB Hope, victim’s advocate and champion of mental health in the Gunnison Valley.
The waves of information around suicide prevention and navigating a crisis situation for yourself or a loved one have been pouring into the community this spring in the wake of three Crested Butte locals taking their own lives in nearly as many weeks.
This spurred Osmundson and co-founder Kathy Napoli, a local mental health professional, into forming a coalition to begin addressing the community’s needs.
Meetings have been held almost weekly since CB Hope’s formation, which has resulted in significant action. A Facebook page has been created (CB Hope) and is loaded with information and resources; posters have been placed in restaurants around town with crisis hotline information; trainings for suicide prevention have taken place; and a forum was held to discuss the situation and how to move forward and help the community. The response from the community has been swift, effective and relentless.
Bigger projects are beginning to take shape, including the local, 24/7 hotline that will be staffed by local mental health professionals and trained volunteers. Callers will have the option to meet a mental health professional at Dr. Tom Moore’s office in Mt. Crested Butte 24/7 should they need in-person help.
The American Association of Suicidology (AAS) is donating services, including trainings for advocates, schools, and police departments, and is assisting to create a framework for suicide prevention and support in Crested Butte, which has been spearheaded by Toni Paul, a suicidologist with local ties in the community, who has volunteered to donate her time and expertise. “Currently AAS has offered a ‘menu’ of services, which we’re looking through now to figure out what we want for Crested Butte specifically,” says Osmundson.
Trainings are being organized for individuals interested in assisting on-scene during police calls for suicides and other situations, including domestic violence, in which they would help friends, family and those on-scene to deal with the situation.
A tentative CB Hope meeting is being scheduled for next week; check CB Hope of Facebook for the date and time. Two Safe Talk meetings are scheduled for Monday, June 11 at the CB town hall at 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Next steps include nailing down the comprehensive framework for the community using AAS trainings and programs, with a goal of launching by the end of July, and getting the 24/7 hotline and crisis space established.
To stay up to date on upcoming meetings and trainings, and to get information on dealing with suicide for yourself or a loved one, follow CB Hope on Facebook, or call Nancy Osmundson at (970) 349-2677.