The Suicide Prevention Program at MHALC works to educate the Licking County community on the signs and symptoms that may lead to a death by suicide. Students and community organizations are reached through Signs of Suicide (SOS) and Gatekeeper Training. In addition to these trainings, the Suicide Prevention Program works to reduce suicides and support the survivors of a suicide. An annual Suicide Prevention Walk and Candlelight Vigil commemorates loved ones who have been lost to suicide.
Signs of Suicide (SOS) Training
This is a program provided in many of Licking County’s middle and high schools. The SOS program is presented over the course of two or three days in a classroom setting. Students are taught about mental health and wellness as well as the signs and symptoms of suicidal thoughts and ideations. Students are trained to recognize these symptoms either in themselves or in their friends and family members. The students are told about resources that are available and given mementos with contact information in case of a crisis, like pencils, pens, and bracelets.
Gatekeeper training provides community organizations and businesses with a short training focusing on the signs of suicide in employees. This allows for the local community to know how to help someone who is considering suicide as an option, which will help to prevent suicides.
Licking County Suicide Prevention Coalition
The Licking County Suicide Prevention Coalition is a group of mental health professionals, representatives from the coroner’s office and members of the community that all work together to reduce the number of suicides in Licking County.
Licking County LOSS Team
The Local Outreach to Survivors of Suicide (LOSS) Team is a group of volunteers who help those who have lost a loved one to suicide. This team responds to the scene of a completed suicide to support the survivors through their loss. Follow up activities include commemorative cards on important dates and a holiday remembrance dinner.
Be aware of possible warning signs of suicide:
- Talking about suicide, death, dying, or the afterlife.
- Feeling sad, bored, hopeless, or depressed.
- Making verbal threats such as, “You’d be better off without me,” “I won’t be a problem for you much longer,” or “Maybe I won’t be around.”
- Change in personality, such as becoming suddenly cheerful after a period of depression.
- Showing little interest in the future.
- Making major changes in the looks or not taking care of him/herself (if usually neat, might look sloppy).
- Acting in rash, hostile ways; often expressing rage.
- Giving or throwing away favorite belongings.
For more information, contact Christina Peña-Whittington at 740-788-0306 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.