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Online suicide prevention training for students

Online+suicide+prevention+training+for+students

With changing times, people have been working to make mental health a less taboo subject to help those struggling with reaching out for help and advocating for more available mental health resources. From 2019 to 2021, the amount of people who received mental health treatment increased from 19.2% to 21.6%.

The Suicide Prevention Training program began development in 2016 and was finished in 2017 when it was officially launched as an available resource to students and staff.

“App State’s online suicide prevention program is evidence-based, quick, and easily accessible. We recommend that all students complete it so they are best positioned to support their friends and care for themselves,” said Jordan Perry, director of Wellness & Prevention Services.

Wellness & Prevention Services initially paid an outside organization for suicide prevention training for the campus through the Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention grant that they had been awarded in 2014. 

The department began developing its own online program to avoid paying for training from an outside organization when the grant became low on funds, said Elisabeth Cavallaro, founder of the Suicide Prevention Training and associate director of Wellness & Prevention Services.

“What the training covers is why you should care about suicide prevention in the first place, what are the warning signs for suicide, some steps to having a conversation if you notice those warning signs,” Cavallaro said.

The training also provides resources for suicide prevention that are available on and off campus.

“It takes most students between 20 and 40 minutes to go through the training. We wanted to keep it brief because we know students are busy,” Cavallaro said. “We tried to keep it as brief as possible while also making sure you get enough information to feel more confident about having a conversation about suicide.”

The training is available in AsULearn where students can self-enroll themselves. In addition to the online training, in-person training is available to students by request.

“I think that suicide prevention training is very beneficial for students to complete as suicide is the second leading cause of death among young adults,” according to Active Minds. “Mental health is unfortunately something that is heavily stigmatized, which makes it much harder to openly talk about,” said Larisa Eichler, a senior communications major, mental health ambassador and co-president of Active Minds.

The training includes a roleplay section in order to give students a better outlook on what certain situations might entail and different ways to handle delicate situations.

“Learning how to initiate and navigate these crucial conversations about mental health can help save a life. The suicide prevention training helped me to learn the various steps of helping a friend and knowing the different warning signs for suicide,” Eichler said. “It made me feel more comfortable with how to reach out to someone regarding suicide and other mental health matters.”

In addition to suicide prevention training, Wellness & Prevention Services provides several other training programs available to students such as financial wellness and nutritional education.

If you need immediate help, call (828) 262-3180 to speak with an on-call counselor. For non-emergencies, such as setting up consultations, one can call the center’s number during regular hours of operation, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. For other emergency or crisis services, one can visit this link https://counseling.appstate.edu/pagesmith/145.

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About the Contributor
Samantha Salvador
Samantha Salvador, Reporter
Samantha Salvador (she/her) is a freshman Spanish and political science major with a concentration in international and comparative politics from King, NC.
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