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Your Role in the Prevention of Suicides

By Jeff Yalden, CSP, Suicide Prevention Expert

Suicide is a a major concern that is invading schools and communities at an ever increasing rate and your school is not immune.  Every day it is estimated that 85 individuals commit suicide in the United States alone and for every death by suicide there are 25 suicide attempts. Suicide has climbed to the third leading cause of death for youth ages 15-24 with ‘accidental deaths’ ranking second.

I deal with suicide and mental health weekly.  It’s surprising when I talk to students, parents, faculty, staff members, and administrators, to hear they  are often surprised when they hear how vulnerable their community is to depression and other mental heath concerns.  Suicide is taboo.  Let’s not talk about it.  90% of suicides are a result of depression, a form of mental health.  Suicide is preventable and there is HOPE.

Online Training is Available . . .

The truth is that we are in a national, regional and personal war against suicide with our focus on not only saving lives but on ending stigma toward suicide and other mental health concerns. How are we supposed to prevent suicides when a majority of well educated professionals in leadership roles do not recognize that this problem exists right under their leadership, in their communities, in their schools?

Interpersonal research on suicidal communications among significant others has shown that one of the most common responses of friends and family members to a threat of suicide is no response even though, 90 percent of people thinking about taking their lives have communicated their intentions to others. If you suspected that a friend was suffering from pneumonia or a broken leg, you would most likely do something to intervene. Peoples’ response to a possible suicide crisis tends to be much more complicated, though it does not have to be.  We have to stop being afraid to talk about the “S” word.

Most people have not been educated on the warning signs and symptoms of suicide and there fore do not know what to look for when anticipating whether someone they know is at risk for suicide. Most people do not know how to talk to someone about suicide and most people struggle with how to get help for someone that they feel could be at risk. One common myth about suicide is the thinking that if I talk to the person about suicide, I might make him or her feel worse, or worse yet, I might put the idea in his or her head. This myth is simply not true. In fact, most individuals who attempt or complete suicide are ambivalent about the act of taking their own life up until the point that they attempt or complete suicide. Most individuals want desperately to be helped and saved from the pain, but in feeling trapped or stuck begin to think that suicide may be the only option. Most suicidal individuals enter that point in which they actually intend to take their own lives only briefly until the state of crisis is over.

Suicide can be stopped with basic training in the a) warning signs, b) ways to talk to a suicidal individual, and c) places to refer him or her for immediate help. This is the training that I do in schools and communities.  I am on the front lines of suicide prevention, but it is essential that you educate yourself about the ways that you can help.  I am offering a certified suicide prevention training (Question, Persuade, Refer [QPR]), to all students, faculty, and staff members.  This 90-minute to w hour training is designed to help provide the critical skills necessary for non-mental health professionals when faced with a possible person/student of concern. QPR training is engaging and informative to all faculty, staff, and students and includes information on:

•    The problem of suicide nationally, and locally

•    Common myths and facts associated with suicide

•    Warning signs of suicide

•    Tips for asking the suicide question

•    Methods for persuading suicidal individuals to get help

•    Ways of referring at risk people to local resources

•    AND time for Questions and Answers

With medical costs costing an attempted suicide between $5,000 and $30,000 dollars, you have to address this issue now and take advantage of this important and very crucial training.  Another reason why you need to address teen suicide is because each week I hear from educators, teachers, and communities about their schools having suffered through not just one suicide, but multiple suicides within days, weeks, months.  How about six suicides in four weeks?  How about nine teen suicides in one year?  What are you doing?

In doing so you will learn that individuals who are at risk for suicide are not that different from someone in physical pain; emotional pain can be harder to see if you’re not looking.

For more information about QPR Training with Jeff Yalden, contact 800-948-9289 or email us today.  We can also come to your facility and train your staff members.

Sign up for an Online Suicide Prevention Training with Jeff Yalden.

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