Public invited to training on suicide prevention

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(Posted April 7, 2015)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Madison County area community members have an opportunity to learn about the warning signs of suicide and steps to take to decrease the risk.

On April 16, the Madison County Depression and Suicide Prevention Coalition, along with the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Clark, Greene and Madison Counties, will host a Community Gatekeeper Forum in the London High School auditorium.

The forum is free and open to anyone high school age and older. A light dinner will be provided from 6 to 6:30 p.m. at which time area agencies will be available to discuss their services. The forum will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Roger Roberts, coalition member, describes a “gatekeeper” as any individual who might come in contact with another individual who may be feeling suicidal.

The forum is designed to educate people about the signs and symptoms of suicide, the myths, how to have a conversation with someone who may be suicidal, and which resources to refer them to.

“Going to this training won’t make you comfortable with this topic because it is not a comfortable topic, but it will make you competent,” Roberts said.

Ellen J. Anderson, Ph.D., LPCC, will lead the training. Anderson has worked in the mental health field for over 26 years. She started in Montana as a school psychologist and school counselor, then spent 14 years at a child mental health center in northwest Ohio before joining Person to Person Resources.

Anderson received her master’s degree in counseling from the University of Montana in 1980 and her doctoral degree in counselor education and supervision from the University of Toledo in 1999. She has been a consultant to Ohio’s county suicide prevention coalitions for four years.

Since 2002, Anderson has worked with 45 suicide prevention coalitions to develop strategic and action plans. She also developed the Gatekeeper trainings for Ohio coalitions to increase community awareness about depression and suicide and help people learn how to intervene when someone they know is suffering.

“Ellen is very down-to-earth,” Roberts said. “She makes it really easy to understand. It’s a tough subject, but you will walk away feeling you learned something and are going to be able to do something with it.”

The training will be tailored to the specific needs of Madison County. The overall number of suicides in the county in recent years are as follows: four in 2010, two in 2011, six in 2012, five in 2013, five in 2014, and two to date in 2015.

Two years ago, the Depression and Suicide Prevention Coalition also began tracking the number of calls emergency squads respond to for suicide threats or suicide attempts in Madison County—100 in 2013 and 111 in 2014.

To register for the forum or for more information, call (937) 322-0648, ext. 116, or email mari@mhrb.org. Walk-ins are also welcome.

The forum is funded by a grant from the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation.

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