May 062008
 
Authors: Cece Wildeman

The CSU chapter of Active Minds held a suicide prevention training session on Tuesday in the Lory Student Center.

Kathleen McKinney, the adviser to the organization, addressed a group of about 20 about “Question, Persuade, Refer,” the suicide prevention training method used at CSU.

QPR was started in 1977 and is intended to offer help through positive action, according to the QPR handbook.

The program is offered to anyone, and its fundamentals, like CPR, are designed for easy learning.

“This is important because if we don’t train people on suicide prevention, people may be afraid to ask someone if they’re thinking of suicide,” McKinney said.

The university adopted QPR in May 2007 and has seen fairly high attendance rates so far, she said.

The program is focused on teaching people to recognize signs of suicide, teaching them to communicate openly about the subject and teaching them how they can refer those in danger to a professional.

“Anybody with mood disorders are going to be at the greatest risk,” McKinney said.

Signs of suicide can be verbal, behavioral or situational. Once someone is thinking of carrying out their suicide plan, there is a two to three hour window in which that person can be helped, McKinney said.

When asking someone if they have thought about suicide, McKinney encourages people to be persistent, talk in a private setting and have reference resources handy. She said many people believe asking the question will cause the suicidal person to snap. However, it will usually lower anxiety and open communication lines, McKinney said.

McKinney also included statistics on suicide rates, informing the attendees that there are 4,316 suicides each year of people between 15 and 24. Of these, more than 1,000 happen on college campuses, she said.

“This is an important event because it (suicide) seems like something that could be prevented, and college-aged kids are a target age group,” said Tyler Sherman, a freshman psychology major.

The group focuses on educating students about mental health, encouraging students to seek professional help if they have a mental health issue and serve as the liaison between the mental health community and students, according to their Web site.

Senior Reporter Cece Wildeman can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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