Northeast Kingdom Human Services takes on suicide prevention

in Glover/Newport/News

NEWPORT — According to the Vermont Suicide Prevention Center one Vermonter dies by suicide every three days in Vermont, and for every suicide, there are 32 attempts.

Northeast Kingdom Human Services has taken these statistics seriously and since January has provided over twenty training sessions in the area.

NKHS has adopted the evidence-based training platform of “Zero Suicide” and QPR.

QPR stands for question, persuade, and refer.

The training provides the education about how to question someone who may be suicidal, how to persuade them that it is okay to need help, and how to refer those struggling to get the help they need.

Suicide has long been something that is uncomfortable to discuss.

This training is a way to provide the tools and language to take the stigma around suicide away.

The other part of the training that is important, is recognizing the social pressures that many of our youth are facing today.

Social media ads a component of pressure and social maneuvering that was never present in the past.

These training sessions help children and adults recognize the realities that local children are living with today, and how to seek help when they need it.

Many children feel that they should not tell an adult about a friend who is suicidal, because they do not want to lose their friend.

Part of the training is encouraging people that it is better to lose a friend than lose a life.

Providing training to school teachers and college professors, parents, and students is taking the destigmatization and education around suicide to the next level.

When the program was implemented at NKHS, they provided just one training in November and one in December.

NKHS also participated in two wellness fairs to educate and raise awareness for suicide prevention, one at the Blue Mountain School, and one at St. Johnsbury Academy, as part of a community suicide awareness evening.

Both events were packed, which showed organizers the need for outreach and education even more.

The requests for these training sessions are increasing dramatically which shows the direct need for this service in the local community.

Glover Community School is the first school in the region to be creating a pilot program, where the training will be done in a three-part series, with staff first, then parents, then students.

The staff training session at the school has already been completed.

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