Suicide Awareness, Prevention Critical to Wimberley ISD 2019-20 School Year Training
September 6, 2019, Wimberley ISD employees are certified QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Gatekeepers—trained to recognize when someone may be having a mental health emergency, to ask them directly about it and to persuade them to get help and then to refer them to help. Jenny Kenley, a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in the area of suicide prevention trained WISD employees as part of their in-service training in August.
“The idea being that just like you don’t need to be a cardiologist to engage in the life saving intervention of CPR, you likewise do not need to be a mental health professional to engage in QPR,” said Kenley, who trains individuals to be QPR Gatekeepers.
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, an important way to shed light on the second leading cause of death among teenagers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nationally, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, a major mental health crisis.
Kenley takes this time to train all employees, including nurses, custodians, teachers, bus drivers and administrators on how to ask the right questions and to listen for important cues.
"To help keep our students and community safe, we all have to engage in the work of suicide prevention. The most important thing for all of us to remember is that talking about suicide, being willing to ask someone the question in a face saving and direct way, can save lives,” said Kenley.
WISD is moving forward with initiatives aimed at keeping students safe and assuring that teachers have the tools and training to most effectively support all students through any situation.
“It is important that we have a month dedicated to discussing this heavy topic. We are aware that it is not easy to talk about suicide, and that is why training our WISD team to talk candidly about it is critical to our pursuit of a harmonious, healthy and safe working and learning environment,” said Amy Lyles, MED, LPC, Director of Student Support Services.
“The feedback to the training was overwhelmingly positive. This is a training that affects all areas of our lives. These are skills that educators will use in their classroom with their students, but they are also skills that we can use as parents, friends and community members,” said Kenley.
Kenley is also training Wimberley High School students as part of the student-led peer assisted wellness initiative. These group of Texan students opened a wellness center on the WHS campus to support mental health and well-being.
If anyone is interested in hosting a suicide prevention training for their community group, please email Kenley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you or someone you know might be contemplating suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 800-273-8255. You also can text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis text live. In an emergency, you can call 911 or contact a local hospital or mental health facility.
Wimberley ISD Director of Student Support Services, Amy Lyles, MED, LPC and Jenny Kenley, LPC are partnering to raise awareness about suicide prevention and to train WISD employees and WHS students on how to talk about it.