The week of Sept. 6-12 marks the 35th Annual National Suicide Prevention Week, and the newly introduced AskListenRefer, a suicide prevention resource, available to MU students, staff and faculty.
A recent article in The Boston Globe stated that a New Hampshire school district would be enlarging its suicide prevention training to participants in order to better recognize and help those at risk after the school district had experienced two suicides earlier this year.
According to the Wellness Resource Center, AskListenRefer, the MU Suicide Prevention Training Program, is designed to assist students and faculty to prevent suicide by teaching you to “identify people at risk for suicide, recognize the risk factors and warning signs of suicide, and respond to and get help for people at risk.”
AskListenRefer is “an excellent resource that offers multiple ways to help people prevent suicide,” said David Wallace, Director of the MU Counseling Center. The flexibility of AskListenRefer being an online suicide prevention resource program “allows people the opportunity to sit down at their own computer on their own time and take the training program” rather than the more traditional approaches of live training or face-to-face small group training, said Wallace.
Suicide is the “3rd leading cause of death among youth” ages 15 to 24, according to statistics from the Wellness Resource Center. “Suicides among youth (15-24) rose roughly 200% between 1950 and today,” they added.
According to the American Association of Suicidology, in 2006 Missouri ranked 17th with 799 suicides in the United States, which is up from its 22nd rank in 2005.
“Young people are especially susceptible to suicide because they can experience any of the same stresses that face adults, in addition to the pressures of growing up. However, young people usually lack the network of support many adults have or a perspective on life and experience in dealing with problems that come with age,” according to the Missouri Department of Mental Health.
The online program offers an educational rather than therapeutic resource for MU students and faculty and takes about 20 minutes for users to complete, according to the AskListenRefer website.
Wallace said, that these new suicide prevention resources that are a statewide project help allow people to be more aware of the subject and the help that is available.
“It’s a difficult topic but it is something we need to talk about in order to let people know you care,” said Wallace.