North Texas Daily

Suicide prevention training available for student body

Suicide prevention training available for student body

February 26
22:11 2013

Ben Peyton / Senior Staff Writer

The Counseling and Testing center is offering suicide prevention training with the hope that educating the UNT community will empower citizens with the skills needed to understand and address the risks associated with suicide.

Training usually lasts a couple of hours with PowerPoint presentations, question and answer sessions, lectures and a chance to role-play in suicide risk situations.

“A lot of people shy away when they hear about that part, but its actually the most important and most useful part of the presentation because they get to practice and use some of these skills with one another,” said Counseling and Testing Center staff psychologist Arlene Rivero.

The training is based on the Question, Persuade and Refer program, which is an emergency mental health intervention. The program is similar to CPR in that the sooner someone gets help the better the outcome is, according to the QPR institute.

According to the Center for Disease Control, as of 2011 suicide or intentional self harm is the No. 10 leading cause of death in the United States.

Rivero said individuals have different cases, but in general they are recipients of a lot of misconceptions and stigmas that often don’t fit what someone would typically see as a suicidal risk.

“Becoming educated about what the signs look like and knowing what to do when you see them can definitely be supportive when you’re around your peers or coworkers,” Rivero said.

The training focuses on four main areas: raising awareness, giving fact based background information to alleviate misconceptions, teaching how to look for warning signs, and how to address suicidal concerns.

If someone is not in immediate danger they can refer themselves or a friend to the Center for Learning Enhancement, Assessment, and Redesign or the CLEAR team, said Kerry Stanhope assistant director at UNT Health and Wellness Center.

The CLEAR team’s mission is to assist in protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the students and members of the UNT community and collaborates with the Counseling and Testing Center.

Maureen McGuiness, Director of the CLEAR team and Dean of Students said, “we don’t take anything lightly. We will not ignore anything. We can’t. I won’t.”

The next QPR session will be in April.

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