MCHD Health Educator Sarah Derwin Stops In to Cover Ways to Help Promote Youth Suicide Prevention

Sarah Derwin giving her speech on Youth Suicide Prevention and what her department has done so far.

Marquette, MI  –  July 26, 2017  –  The Marquette West Rotary was honored to have Health Educator, Sarah Derwin at today’s weekly rotary meeting. Working in Marquette County Health Department’s Youth Suicide Prevention Department, Sarah Derwin joined us to speak on a tragic, sobering topic in our society.

Ms. Derwin opened stating that many of us have lost a loved one, or we know someone who struggles with thoughts of suicide. Sarah Derwin reminded the audience of a startling fact: It is not a crime in Michigan. Suicide is not a crime in the state of Michigan.

“When we lose someone in our smaller communities there’s a ripple effect. It affects us all when we hear about it,” Derwin said. “We ask, ‘what caused this,’ but suicide is complex and typically there’s not one reason. The loss of a job, alcoholism, or bullying are only some of the factors that play into why someone chooses to take their own life.” Derwin vocalized that we can’t blame anyone for the act.  The group encourages us to say, “Suicide is complex.”

The Marquette Health Department's Youth Suicide Prevention Health Educator, Sarah Derwin.
The Marquette Health Department’s Youth Suicide Prevention Health Educator, Sarah Derwin.

Sarah Derwin moved on to share exciting news from the Marquette County Health Department. The department gave a four year federal grant for youth 10 to 24. Now almost done with year two, the Youth Suicide Prevention group is working on policy and system changes. They have been working with schools on prevention and simply voicing thoughts on prevention. Derwin indicated they were looking at seamless modes of care so people don’t fall through the gaps.

Marquette County has a robust group that meets monthly to touch base on systems and challenges. Accomplishments of the grant thus far include training, educating people to see the signs that lead to suicide, learning how to screen, and what to do when signs do show themselves.

Working locally, Derwin used Ishpeming Schools as an example of their efforts. The school system responded well to the training and has passed a comprehensive policy for working with suicidal youth.

Save the date and attend the Out of the Darkness Walk in Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming
Save the date and attend the Out of the Darkness Walk in Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming on September 9, 2017

While rotarians may not work in the ways the health deparmtent can, rotarians can make a difference. They can help spread the word.

Derwin invited the audience to attend the “Out of the Darkness Walk” on September 9, 2017. This awareness-raising event at Al Quaal Park in Ishpeming will take place from 9a-11a. The Suicide Prevention Walk is a critical community event to increase awareness about suicide prevention.

Sarah Derwin also shared that the department does a one-hour free training session that is available for groups of any size.

If you do not have training or believe more assistance is required, call or share the number, (800) 562-7622 or text 35needs. Please keep the number and share with people you find in need.

For more information about the Out of the Darkness Walk, visit their website.

Connect directly with Sarah Derwin with the information below:

Sarah Derwin, Health Educator
Marquette County Health Department
Youth Suicide Prevention