Training Session Planned on Suicide Awareness, Prevention

Published on August 20, 2015

Eastern Kentucky University will host a training session on suicide prevention and awareness for faculty and staff.

In recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day, the training will be held Thursday, Sept. 3, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., in Powell Underground and is open to all University faculty and staff. Advance registration is not necessary. Participants are responsible for their own lunches during the noon-1 p.m. break.

Participants will learn about the impact and epidemiology of suicide. They will also be equipped with gatekeeper training called “Question, Persuade and Refer,” which will teach them how to respond and refer appropriately when an individual signals distress or thoughts of suicide.

“This is a significant issue to discuss because suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students,” said Dr. Melinda Moore, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and one of the speakers at the event. “A significant number of college students think about suicide and engage in suicidal behavior while away from home and at school, but because faculty, staff and -- even in some cases, clinicians -- do not know how to respond or understand what is happening, these students are overlooked and many times ignored.

“Faculty acknowledge they don't know where local or national resources, such as the National Suicide Hotline, are and have no idea where to refer troubled students when they are asked by the students. It is important that we begin a conversation among the faculty and staff about understanding suicide, its impact and what to do when a student -- or a fellow staff member or even a faculty member -- signals distress.”

The event will feature presentations by three nationally recognized suicide prevention advocates and researchers.  Dr. Donna Barnes, the keynote speaker, is the principal investigator and project director of the Suicide Prevention Program in Howard University’s Department of Psychiatry, which trains faculty, staff and students on recognizing the signs of an individual in crisis and how to respond, and co-founder and president of the National Organization for People of Color Against Suicide. Her primary focus is to increase suicide awareness and education in communities of color and to develop prevention, intervention and post-intervention support services for families and communities impacted by violence, depression and suicide.

Moore is chair of Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group Inc. She specializes in prevention, intervention and post-intervention support services to families and communities impacted by suicide and research on growth after trauma. Dr. Julie Cerel is a University of Kentucky College of Social Work assistant professor, licensed psychologist and president-elect of the American Association of Suicidology. She will focus on the effects of being a suicide survivor.

The event is sponsored by the EKU Counseling Center, Department of Psychology, Division of Student Success, EKU Health Services, EKU Cultural Center and Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group Inc.