Thrive Counseling Center announced on July 19 it has begun a community-wide suicide prevention initiative. 

From July 31 to August 2, approximately 90 River Forest police and firefighters will receive training in safeTALK, a suicide intervention training program. Future training will be offered for Oak Park police and fire department staff and other community organizations, including therapists, teachers, residents and more. Thrive operates a 24/7 crisis line at 708-386-7500. 

“If one of our first responders can recognize and help just one resident in pain or in need of assistance, that can save a life,” River Forest Village President Cathy Adduci, who serves on the Thrive board of directors, said in a statement. “River Forest’s involvement in this vital initiative will benefit our entire community.”

Suicide deaths are on the rise nationally and locally, with an average of six deaths per year in Oak Park and River Forest. In Oak Park and River Forest, more than half of those who die from suicide are ages 45 to 64.

“The cases of suicide and attempted suicide continue to rise in this country,” River Forest Fire Chief Kurt Bohlmann said in a statement. “We have a responsibility to do what we can to reduce the incidence of suicide wherever we can.”

Funding for the initiative has come from the Healthy Communities Foundation, Amity School Children’s Aid, Rotary Club of Oak Park-River Forest, and Women Leaders in Philanthropy, a part of the Oak Park and River Forest Community Foundation. Thrive is seeking additional funding to expand its workshops.

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