Suicide Prevention Week Feb. 1-5

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 29, 2010) – On average, a young person (ages 15-24) dies by suicide every two hours and five minutes in the United States. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among people aged 15-24. More than 500 people die by suicide each year in Kentucky.
To build awareness and to help students who may be at risk of suicide, the University of Kentucky Increasing Networks for Campus Awareness to Suicide and Emergencies (UK-IN-CASE) program is sponsoring UK’s Midwinter Suicide Prevention Week Feb. 1–5.
“Suicide prevention for our campus includes not only prevention but ‘postvention’: taking care of people bereaved by suicide,” said Julie Cerel, assistant professor in the UK College of Social Work.
The week kicks off Monday, Feb. 1, with a keynote presentation by Michelle Linn-Gust, president-elect of the American Association of Suicidology, and a survivor of her own sister’s suicide as a college student. Linn-Gust will speak on “The Road Map to Hope: the Journey Through Suicide Loss” at 4 p.m. in the Center Theater of the UK Student Center.
Immediately following Linn-Gust’s talk, the entire campus community is welcome to a resource fair and reception in Room 206 of the Student Center. The event will include representatives from campus grant partners including UK Counseling and Testing, the Jesse G. Harris Jr. Psychological Services Center and OUTsource, as well as community partners including the Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group; the Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities; the National Alliance on Mental Illness; Mental Health America Kentucky; Hospice of the Bluegrass and the Lexington Humane Society.
On Wednesday, Feb. 3, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., UK Counseling and Testing will offer free and anonymous mental health screenings in the lobby of the William T. Young Library. Anyone is welcome to be screened for depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and other mental health concerns.
Specifically for clinicians, Frank Campbell, a psychologist and trainer from Baton Rouge, La., will present a half-day continuing education session on how practitioners can be better equipped to prevent suicide in clients. The session will take place Feb. 5. For more information or to register, visit
Additionally, UK-IN-CASE and the Graham Memorial Fund have trained 12 new instructors in the QPR (question, persuade, refer) method of suicide prevention. These “gatekeeper” instructors will be available to provide suicide prevention trainings to groups across campus. QPR is a proven model of suicide prevention, with its efficacy widely documented in peer-reviewed journals. Many of the instructors available to provide training on campus are UK Counseling and Testing psychologists. All were trained by Mary Chandler Bolin, director of the UK Counseling and Testing Center and a certified QPR Master Trainer.
UK-IN-CASE is made possible through funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The grant is led by Cerel and co-directed by Bolin. UK-IN-CASE aims to increase awareness of suicide and risk factors on the UK campus and provide better networking across campus to provide for students at risk of a suicide or who are bereaved following one. 
“We are so fortunate that, because of our SAMHSA funded grant, we are able to highlight campus resources for suicide prevention and discuss the effects of suicide on the bereaved,” said Cerel.
For more information on UK-IN-CASE or Suicide Prevention Week, contact project coordinator Carrie Schurtz at In the case of a suicide emergency for yourself or someone you care about, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-274-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

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