September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and one local woman is taking a novel approach to spreading the word.
Cindy Coleman, owner of Duck Girl Art and marketing director for the Irish Embassy, is partnering with the restaurant for “Clovers for Courage,” a campaign that will place 25 painted rocks along the Animas River Trail. Each rock, painted with a four-leaf clover, will be redeemable at the Embassy for various prizes, from a free app to a $100 gift certificate.
If you are scratching your head over what painted rocks have to do with suicide awareness, allow us to explain. Apparently, this painted rock thing is all the rage around the country, where the practice is to paint a rock – with anything from a rainbow to an uplifting saying – and hide it in a public place for someone else to find. Think of it as random rocks of kindness. Sometimes rock-finders win a prize, other times it’s to raise money for a cause.
Which is what the Embassy is trying to do. In addition to the 25 clover rocks, the Embassy is encouraging folks to paint and hide their own rocks (be sure to coat it with a weatherproof finish and hide it where it will not present a tripping or lawn-mover hazard) then take a photo of it and post it to the Embassy’s Facebook page. For each painted rock posted to the page this month, the Embassy will donate $5 to the Southern Ute Community Action Program Gatekeepers Program.
“Suicides are an issue in our community, and it seems that everyone is saying ‘What can I do to help?’” Irish Embassy Manager Phil Brennan said. “We thought this was a great opportunity to do something about it.”
According to Peter Tregillus, SUCAP Programs Developer, Gatekeepers are trained to engage with people at imminent risk of suicide and connect them to professional help. The training program is called QPR – much like the life-saving CPR – which stands for “Question, Persuade, Refer.” For more, go to: sucap.org/spotlight/suicide-prevention/)