Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the nation.
Kentucky’s suicide rate is even higher than the national average, with 15.5 suicides per 100,000 people, compared to 12.5 nationwide.
On Feb. 26 and 27, the Regional Prevention Center of Comprehend, Inc. hosted suicide prevention training in Maysville.
Nearly three dozen people from across the Buffalo Trace area attended Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training. Participants representing the areas of education, public health, juvenile justice, community-based services, mental health and other services, were trained in suicide first aid.
Participants spent two full days learning how to recognize when someone may be having suicidal thoughts and ways to support their immediate safety. The training also taught the value of improving and integrating suicide prevention resources into the community at large.
“After two days of intensive training, this group is now equipped with resources that allow us to be prepared to engage with a person at risk for suicide,” Hope Burns, executive director of the Buffalo Trace Children’s Advocacy Center, said.
Denese Fulton, a registered nurse and health educator with the Buffalo Trace District Health Department added, “I am so glad I received this training. I now feel better prepared to address suicide in my community and I plan to use what I learned in my personal and professional life.”
This training is part of Comprehend’s participation in a state-wide effort known as the “Zero Suicide Initiative” - a commitment to suicide prevention in health and behavioral healthcare systems. The initiative urges health care systems to adopt the goal of zero suicides making suicide a “never event.” Last year, Comprehend sent a team of four staff to Zero Suicide Academy to learn how healthcare organizations can implement a specific set of strategies and tools to prevent suicide within all service populations.
“As a result of the initiative, Comprehend is working to enhance current clinical practices and procedures such as screening and assessing for suicide risk,” said Dr. Jeff Drury, Comprehend’s VP of Adult Services. The RPC is using the initiative to build community awareness and provide education around incorporating suicide prevention into various settings. Lauren Penrose, RPC Prevention Program Coordinator stated, “You don’t have to be a mental health professional to prevent suicide. Many individuals who die by suicide never enter into a treatment setting, so this is something everyone needs to know about. And with the proper knowledge and skills, anyone can prevent a suicide tragedy.”
The training was funded by the Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities through the Partnership for Success grant.
For more information about suicide prevention, contact the RPC at 606-759-7799 or visit the RPC’s resource library located at 731 Kenton Station Road, Maysville.