Tuesday, September 22, 2020


Home News Accepting, acknowledging and preventing: Safehaven aims to educate on suicide awareness

Accepting, acknowledging and preventing: Safehaven aims to educate on suicide awareness

suicide-prevention-1About 30 community members gathered at SafeHaven on Thursday afternoon for what the Colusa County Department of Behavioral Health described as a community healing event. The goal for the event, which took place during National Suicide Prevention Week, was two-fold: remember those who have been lost to suicide, and learn the signs and symptoms in order to help others.

Three different videos were shown during the event, which pertained to different facets of suicide — which is in and of itself often a difficult subject to talk about.

Creating a space to have an open dialogue about suicide, thoughts about suicide, and the stigma attached to it were an important part of the community healing event.

“I think it’s very important that we break down stigmas, so that people will be more willing to reach out, come to SafeHaven or Behavioral Health and seek out help. People often don’t want to reach out and talk about feelings of suicide,” said peer support specialist Valerie Stirling, who runs the day-to-day operations at SafeHaven.

There even a sort of stigma attached to those who have died by suicide — something that was touched upon by one of the videos and the conversation following it. That particular video told the story of a widow who had lost her husband to suicide.

SafeHaven aims to educate on suicide awareness Continued from page 1

“I think what the wife was saying was how people were accepting or not accepting of his death, of how it was suicide, and how people didn’t want to acknowledge it,” Colusa County’s former Mental Health Services Act coordinator Senaida Rangel said.

suicide-preventionThe event’s focus on accepting and acknowledging those who have died by suicide by placing them on a “Wall of Remembrance” was intended to break down that stigma.

The other videos shown on Thursday addressed a number groups at a higher risk of suicide, namely, veterans, and older individuals.

American Veterans (AMVETS) and the Veterans of Foreign Wars were both represented at the event. Paul Belleci, a member of AMVETS Post 50 and the veteran representative at SafeHaven, noted the importance of eliminating the stigma attached to talking about suicide, particularly in the veteran community.

“It’s really important, because 22 veterans a day are committing suicide,” Billeci said. “Senaida Rangel asked me to be there, because I am the veteran representative for SafeHaven, and AMVETS is the only veterans organization that has it’s own suicide prevention program. Speaking from the veterans’ standpoint, there is a culture that you gotta toughen up and drive on. Now, they are trying to reverse that and get people to look at the warning signs in their buddies.”

“We want people to -— you don’t need to be members of SafeHaven or Behavioral Health. That’s why I started doing Veterans Representative stuff at SafeHaven. A vet would rather, usually, speak to another veteran rather than a clinician. A lot of times, all someone needs is someone to talk to that will listen.”

Beyond breaking down the stigma, the event on Thursday also focused on preventing suicide by learning and knowing the signs, finding the words, and reaching out.

Know the Signs

The warning signs of emotional pain or suicidal thoughts aren’t always obvious. Here’s what to look for:

Talking about wanting to die or suicide

Feeling hopeless, desperate or trapped

Giving away possessions

Putting affairs in order

Reckless Behavior


Increased drug or alcohol use


Anxiety or agitation

Changes in sleep

Sudden mood changes

No sense of purpose

Find The Words

As difficult as they might be to say to a loved one, the words “Are you thinking of ending your life?” are the most important you could say.

Start the conversation: mention the warning signs you are noticing

Ask about suicide: “Are you thinking about suicide?”

Listen: Express your concern and reassure

Reach Out

You are not alone: step in or speak up, even if you see only one warning sign. You don’t have to do it alone. To find resources and more information, visit suicideispreventable.org. If you think a person is suicidal, don’t leave them alone. Call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline if you are in crisis or concerned about someone: 1-(800) 273-TALK [8255].

Brian Pearson
Brian Pearson
Brian Pearson is the former Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects included reporting local government and the sports page.

More News

Three killed on I-5 in two separate accidents 

Three people were killed on Interstate 5 in Colusa County over a five day period in two separate accidents.  A Yuba City couple were killed...

Coaches Corner: Dan Kiely

Soccer in Colusa County has a long history of competitive play and a major contributor to that tradition is Colusa High School boys’ soccer...

Garden Club Plant Sale

The Garden Club of Colusa County hosted their fall plant sale in the Davison Pavilion in Colusa on Saturday, Sept. 8. The event, which...

First Patriot Day ceremony held at Williams Elementary School

Students who attend Williams Elementary School were not alive 19 years ago when hijackers used airplanes as weapons of destruction to kill nearly 3,000...

Distance learning raises questions about home imagery

Editors Note: The article has been updated from the print version to correct the spelling of Tiffany Sines. Distance learning seems to be more challenging...

Local Government

County appoints new Airport Advisory Committee

The Colusa County Board of Supervisors on Sept. 1 appointed seven members to the newly restructured Airport Advisory Committee. The previous committee of about 15...

Colusa Police Department: July 2020

The City of Colusa Police Department responded to 382 calls for service, up from 311 in June. There were an additional 31 calls to...

City of Colusa adopts strategy for economic development

The Colusa City Council last week adopted the final Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, a report that will serve as a roadmap intended to diversify...

Public & Legal Notices

FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT FILE NO. 2020-0000072 Date filed: September 11, 2020 The following persons are doing business as: GULLATT RANCH Business Address: 6880 GREENBAY ROAD, ARBUCKLE, CA 95912 Mailing...

FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT FILE NO. 2020-0000071 Date filed: September 1, 2020 The following persons are doing business as: C & C ENGINEERING Business Address: 2081 LONE STAR ROAD,...

Notice of Lien Sale

NOTICE OF LIEN SALE SEPTEMBER 20, 2020 AT 5:00 PM 423 SIOC STREET, COLUSA, CA 95932 8’  3’ GOLD WING 09/16/2020 • WPR #2020-1142


CIUDAD DE COLUSA AVISO DE AUDIENCIA PÚBLICA AVISO SE DA A LA PRESENTE QUE la Comisión de Ciudad de Colusa y  Planificación llevará a cabo un...


CITY OF COLUSA NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the City of Colusa and Planning Commission will hold public workshop on Wednesday, September...