In West, region of guns and suicide, outreach to curb deaths

Keith Carey is a gunsmith in Montrose, a town with a frontier flavor set amid the mesas of western Colorado. He’s a staunch, though soft-spoken, defender of the right to bear arms. Yet now he’s a willing recruit in a fledgling effort to see if the gun community itself — sellers and owners of firearms, operators of shooting ranges — can help Colorado and other Western states reduce their highest-in-the-nation suicide rates.
At the urging of a local police commander, Carey agreed last year to participate in the Gun Shop Project, a state-funded program in which gun sellers and range operators in five western Colorado counties were invited to help raise awareness about suicide…

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MIT Students Use Their Coding Skills For Suicide Prevention

Students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are using their coding skills for an important cause: lowering the suicide rate at their school.
Through an anonymous texting hotline called Lean On Me, anyone in the MIT community in need of support can reach out at anytime and connect with a peer — which can be just as important as getting help from a professional, says MIT sophomore Andy Trattner, one of the hotline’s creators. READ MORE


Health care Health care officials pitch transformative mental health, addiction treatment reforms

Medicaid is one of the biggest drivers of Alaska’s state spending.

At the same time, Alaska has the nation’s highest suicide rate and a growing problem with opioid addiction.

State leaders believe they can lower the long-term growth in Medicaid costs and make Alaskans healthier mentally and physically. They plan to do that by better coordinating  behavioral health care — the treatment of mental health and addiction.

At a recent Senate Medicaid Reform Subcommittee hearing, Health Commissioner Valerie Davidson said it will be a challenge. READ MORE…