BURLEY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) The Suicide Awareness Summit was organized with the goal to combine community members from different areas that students would come in contact with to understand suicide warning signs.
"This is the only one that I've been to where there was this many people from the school system, which I think is a big plus," said Jay Heward, the Cassia County Sheriff.
That was also a plus for Kim Kane, the Program Manager for the Suicide Prevention Program at the Department of Health and Welfare and a speaker at the event.
"Provide these two communities with resources and with information as they move forward in their suicide prevention," Kane said.
Those in attendance ranged from mental health counselors, law enforcement, politicians, and clergy and school officials.
"Recently right here in Cassia County, just before Christmas we had two suicides. They were adults but we have a problem and it's time to address it," Heward said.
According to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Idaho ranks 5th nationally for suicide and the rates in Mini-Cassia are higher than the state average.
"One thing we need to understand is mental health disorders and suicide are not synonymous,” Kane said.
Between personal stories, an informational video and group discussions the consensus was that the correct way to combat the suicide pandemic is to work together.
"People can go through emotional crisis for situational things as well. So when we are talking about someone who is suicidal we need to really treat their suicidality," Kane said.
Friday's summit was by invitation only and the school districts hope to host one again with an open invitation to the entire Cassia and Minidoka communities.