Barry Koch, Ph.D., assistant professor and field coordinator of the Newman University Social Work program in Colorado Springs, Colo., has received the “Hero of Mental Health Award” from Aspen Pointe, the central mental heath agency in Colorado Springs. The award was presented at the 2010 Heroes of Mental Health Luncheon, held at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs, on Oct. 12.
El Paso County, in which Colorado Springs is located, has one of the highest suicide rates in the country. Recognizing an obvious need, Koch began volunteering countless hours of his time to suicide prevention. His efforts were focused on the Suicide Prevention Partnership hot line, which he changed to an on-location call center. Koch also wrote the training manual for the center and trained volunteers.
Janet Karnes, executive director of Suicide Prevention Partnership Pikes Peak Region, said, “Dr. Koch has demonstrated passion and commitment to this issue beyond the call of duty.”
The newly reworked Suicide Prevention Partnership site is designed to provide support in any situation that could potentially lead to suicide or suicidal thoughts, in addition to those situations where the hot line might serve as a last resort.
The award was presented to Koch before a crowd of about 450 people.