Counseling center promotes suicide awareness week with training, events

Counseling center promotes suicide awareness week with training, events
CW File

Suicide is not a topic always discussed openly, and yet it is the second highest cause of death among college students. The University of Alabama Counseling Center is partnering up with organizations on and off campus to bring awareness with Suicide Awareness Week through training sessions and events leading up to the eighth annual Out of the Darkness Tuscaloosa Community Walk on Oct. 8. 

One of these events will be the Ask, Listen, Refer suicide prevention training programs that have replaced QPR or Question, Persuade, Refer.

“ALR is a more compact program that provides information about the how to identify students who may be in distress,” said Kimberly Jenkins-Richardson, staff therapist at The University of Alabama Counseling Center and event planner for Suicide Awareness Week. “It will be an ally to people who have concerns and it tells them how to refer people to the appropriate person who can give them assistance.” 

The training is mainly online, Jenkins-Richardson said. After students sign up for ALR, they can go online and choose a date that works with their schedule. 

“They show up to a Gorgas library computer lab … sign in, and after a presentation, they can get started on the program,” she said. “There is a certificate students can print that shows that they have finished with the program.”

The Counseling Center organized these events with the goal of bringing awareness to suicide and how to deal with or prevent suicides among college students. 

“We want our campus community to be aware that suicides do happen and there are people that students may or may not know who have thoughts to harm themselves,” Jenkins- Richardson said. “Not only do we want them to be aware that this happens, but we also want them to be aware and know what steps they can take to prevent suicides.” 

The Counseling Center also partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to organize Suicide Awareness Week’s culminating event, the eighth annual Out of the Darkness Tuscaloosa Community Walk. Registration for the walk opens on Friday at 1 p.m. The event is on Sunday, Oct. 8 and is approved for one Greek point. 

To learn more about the walk and to register, visit https://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=5012

To sign up for other Suicide Awareness Week events, check the online schedule and get tickets at https://www.ua.edu/news/2017/09/counseling-center-offers-training-during-suicide-awareness-week/.

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