WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A group of community leaders took part in the Suspenders4Hope suicide prevention training on Thursday, working to address a crisis situation.
The Suspenders4Hope training focuses on signs and ways to help those who might be struggling with suicidal thoughts. Dr. Jessica Provines, Wichita State University (WSU) assistant vice president for wellness and chief psychologist, said if this training saves a single life, it is worth it.
“A training like this is important because it helps our community learn how to support each other,” Dr. Provines said.
Dr. Provines spearheads the training. She said it’s important to start the conversations on an uncomfortable topic.
“We talk about the warning signs of someone who’s in distress, how to give you the confidence to intervene and to connect that person to life-saving supports,” said Dr. Provines.
She said the time to reach out is when you see someone struggling.
“We wanted people here today to know that those are the times when it’s most important to reach out and to offer support and to give help, and that’s how we let our community know that we care about them and we support them,” said Dr. Provines.
During the training, groups practice intervening.
“The role-playing that we did in our little sub-group really helped us to ask these uncomfortable questions. It’s just a taboo topic I think that people really don’t like to approach, especially in the workplace,” said Quinn Duncan, with 2nd Chance Bail Bonds.
Dr. Provines said that while suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in the county, 99.5% of people find a way through their mental health crisis.
“They find a way to survive, and those are the stories that we want to bring to life,” said Dr. Provines.
Dr. Provines said the program Suspenders4Hope is about educating more Wichitans.
“We want to bring this message of hope and support to our whole community, and really just make Wichita the place that it can be, where we are known for supporting mental health,” said Dr. Provines.
A free online version of this training is available for anyone who wants to take it. You can click here for their website.