by Anthonette Klinkerman
Colorado’s state rank in per capita suicide rate is sixth. The percentage of teens who have more than passing thoughts of suicide in a given year is 25 percent. These and other unnerving numbers regarding suicide stare from a green flier provided by Second Wind Fund.
The Kiwanis Club of Castle Pines North recognized a need, and teamed up with the Second Wind Organization to present information that can be helpful in preventing some of the disturbing statistics.
Jeff Lamontagne is the cofounder of Second Wind, and was paying his fifth visit to a Kiwanis Club. The Second Wind Fund provides professional counseling and mental health services to 1,100 kids who are either underinsured or not insured for these services.
In 2002, there were four suicides at Green Mountain High School in Jefferson County. Lamontagne acknowledged the need to provide funds for counseling services, and Second Wind was born. The money ensures the types of services needed to prevent more suicides by providing short-term counseling by licensed therapists.
Shortly thereafter, other schools began requesting the support of Second Wind. There are now 250 schools participating in the program. At least three kids a day are referred to Second Wind.
In most healthcare programs, students may have to wait several weeks for help, wait weeks between appointments, and then are limited to the number of appointments they may have. In Second Wind, kids will be admitted within the week of referral, go to a support session once a week, and continue with follow-up for as many as 20 sessions if requested. From Douglas County School District (DCSD), there have been 52 students referred to Second Wind.
Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive regarding the efforts of Second Wind. Suicide rates in most groups are up, but there has been a 14 percent decrease in the rate among teens since 2006, the first year Second Wind was in operation.
One in four teens in Colorado have more than passing thoughts about suicide. The statistics in DCSD report 19 percent of ninth graders have suicidal thoughts, and 12 percent attempt suicide. Efforts by the Kiwanis Club and Second Wind have been as effective in suicide prevention as other methods, if not more so.
As Lamontagne said, “It only takes one to make a huge difference.”
Contact Jeff Lamontagne for more about Second Wind at 303-988-2645, or visit
www.thesecondwindfund.org. For further information about the Kiwanis Club, please contact Daniel Cook at 720-339-6934.