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Free suicide prevention training available in Otter Tail County

These training sessions provide evidence-based information on suicide prevention and is presented through a slideshow. Area resource material is also available at in-person training sessions.

Suicide prevention
Suicide prevention poster.

Suicide is one of the most preventable deaths if signs are recognized before a crisis occurs, said Shatter the Silence Suicide Awareness and Prevention founder Maria Willits. According to her, stigma is one of the biggest factors in death by suicide.

"By breaking down that stigma and educating the general public on the topic of mental illness and suicide, we hope to decrease deaths by suicide," Willits said. In 2009, She lost her oldest son to suicide. She believes that, with education, the lives of people struggling with suicidality like her son could be saved.

Around five years ago, Willits received her Question, Persuade, Refer certification. This institute allows people who are certified to give training sessions on suicide prevention and awareness.

Willits, who lives in Rothsay, currently has free suicide prevention training available for anyone who is interested. Question, Persuade, Refer will go to the facility, organization or site of those requesting training. They can also arrange a virtual meeting on Zoom.

These training sessions provide evidence-based information on suicide prevention and are presented through a slideshow. Area resource material is also available at in-person training sessions.

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"If you suspect someone is depressed and suicidal, don't hesitate to ask them if they are," Willits suggested. "If they confide in you that they are, remember that if you're not a trained and qualified mental health professional, they should seek professional help ASAP."

NSPL_Logo.jpg
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. (Submitted photo)

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, reach out for help. You can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK, text "MN" to 741741 or reach out to your county Mobile Mental Health Crisis Response Team. For Otter Tail, Wilkin and Clay counties, that number is 1-800-223-4512.

For those interested in hosting or attending suicide prevention training, contact Hannah Frederick at hannahf@productivemn.org or 218-298-4359. You can also contact Willits for more information at willits4shatterthesilence@gmail.com or 218-671-1805.

Related Topics: OTTER TAIL COUNTYPERHAM
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