It's National Mental Health Awareness Month and being aware of the mental health of yourself and those around you can be life-saving, but sometimes, more is required.

That's why the Alliance for Suicide Prevention of Larimer County (ASP) is taking the next step in suicide prevention. Their goal is to put a stop to suicide through training, education and outreach.

ASP's website says some of the warning signs of suicide are:

1. Talking about not having a reason to live or feeling like they are a burden to others
2. Increased Drug or Alcohol use
3. Withdrawing from activities
4. Isolating from Friends and Family
5. Changes in Sleep Patterns
6. Giving Away Possessions

However, ASP Program Director, Kimberly Pratt, explained to "Tuned In to NoCo" that though these are warning signs of suicide, it's not always that black and white.

"We have to remember that some of those warning signs are normal for people. So, we really want to see is this outside of a person's norm. You know, that gut feeling — does something feel wrong within myself or with somebody I love?"

Pratt says they ultimately want to address an individual's mental health when something is impacting their ability to live, laugh and love and the best way to do so, is getting that individual care.

"We know that 85-90 percent of people, if they get connected to care and follow through with that care, will never seriously consider suicide again."

This is why ASP offers a variety of programs to fight suicide. They also partner with outside organizations to provide the best individualized care, and offer grief support for those who have lost loved ones to suicide.

The national suicide rate is about 14 percent per 100,000. This is a 30 percent increase from 2000 according to the CDC, but Pratt said COVID-19 has little to do with these numbers.

"A lot of people thought the number of suicide deaths were going to increase during the pandemic. In fact, they've gone down. So, in 2020-2021 the number of suicide deaths in the United States and in Colorado decreased."

Despite this good news, ASP did see an increase in substance use deaths and people reaching out for extra help during the pandemic.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or know someone who is, ASP encourages you to call Colorado Crisis Support at 1-844-493-8255 or text HOME to 741741.

If you need immediate help, SummitStone Health Partners provides a walk-in crisis center at 1217 Riverside Avenue Fort Collins, CO.

For more information about ASP or how to find a crisis center near you click here.

To listen to the full interview check out the link below.

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