Suicide Awareness and Prevention Trainings

Cishella Durling All right, everyone, welcome to another episode of the Student Affairs Podcast series. My name is Cishella Durling, and I'm going to be your host today, and I am very excited for this podcast, today. I'm going to be interviewing Geri Morgan, who is going to give us some wonderful insights about the suicide prevention and awareness trainings that the Dean of Students Office offers here at the University of Louisville. So, I'm really excited for this interview, and we're going to just go ahead and dive in. And, Geri, the first thing I would like to know, or what are some of these suicide awareness and prevention training programs that the University of Louisville, specifically the Dean of Students Office, offers to faculty, staff, and students.

Geri Morgan Alright, thanks Cishella. This is a great opportunity to let the campus community know that for many years the Dean of Students Office has headed up our list of trainers for QPR, QPR stands for question, persuade, and refer. It's much like CPR if you have been trained in CPR then you know just enough to act in the moment until the professionals get there, right? So, with QPR we train you to ask the right questions of someone who may be having a mental health crisis or maybe experiencing suicidal ideation and talking about it. We give you the resources to refer that person and to persuade them to get help, so QPR question, persuade, and refer. We offered this as an in-person training to groups. We could also do it online, we got very good at that during COVID, but we have about 9 trainers on campus. This is really a great opportunity for faculty and staff groups, but we also train students. We recently trained some students out of the Cultural Center. We train RA’s every year so and it really gives you the foundation of recognizing signs of distress and asking those questions and getting that person some help.

So, another training that we have that's more individualized is called Kognito and we have versions of Kognito for students and for faculty and staff, and we highly encourage everyone to take this. It's it takes about 45 minutes; you can start and stop pick up where you left off. A lot of our Gen. 100 students do this in their class as an assignment. But basically, it's like a video game. Its avatar based. It walks you through various scenarios. So, for instance, if you're a faculty member, it will give you scenarios of meeting with students, working with students who may be expressing some mental health concerns, gives you the opportunity to ask questions. It also will tell you whether or not you picked the best answer or question to ask or response to give; or maybe you should have worded it a little differently. So, it's a very helpful training to get people familiar with asking questions, but also advising students, referring students, having those difficult conversations about mental health. So that is an online training that we encourage all students and faculty and staff to take part in just to broaden your scope of how to help our students who are dealing with so much.

Cishella Durling Those are some amazing training programs. I really like that the Kognito is game based. I feel like that is really on par with the target audience, especially these younger generations where they get really engaged in that kind of training process. Are there any other suicide prevention trainings.

Geri Morgan Yes, we partner with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention AFSP. And so, we offer a few of their trainings as well. We have some trainers on campus or can bring in some. There's one that's great for student groups called it's Real. So basically, it's a 17-minute video that really normalizes or generalizes the experience of students on campuses, very diverse in their experiences and the types of campuses they come from; and really discusses the troubles that they've been through, the stigma of asking for help, but has a good discussion after the video for students to engage in with a trained facilitator to talk about their own experiences, but also how to help their friends. And then we have a training similar to QPR called Talk Saves Lives, which again is a group based, just walks people through how to recognize the symptoms or the, you know, concerns that students might be having and to refer them to appropriate resources. So, we can offer all of those.

Cishella Durling That's absolutely fantastic. I can clearly tell that the Dean of Students Office wants to equip all people who engage in campus life with the tools to help spread awareness and to help mitigate and prevent suicide. So, that's wonderful that the Dean of Students Office really, truly recognizes that this, that these trainings are beneficial. So, in what ways are these trainings impacting campus life.

Geri Morgan Yeah. Well, I think the more people that are trained, we're hoping to improve mental health on campus so that our students can be successful pursuing their degrees. One way that I've seen the trainings help is that we receive reports of concern about friends, peers, from more students that than ever before. So, they're using our form or they're emailing us to let us know that they're really concerned about a friend, and they just want someone to reach out. And from faculty as well, I think more faculty are aware of what we do in the Dean of Students Office and with our student care team response because they've engaged in some of these trainings and they know that they are in, they're sitting down with the students and they're creating that connection and really encouraging that student to get help. But then also passing it off to those that can connect that student to the appropriate resources. And also, they're asking for more advice and training. So, I think the more that we can train students, faculty, and staff, we will have a healthier and a happier campus.

Cishella Durling I wholeheartedly agree with that. We definitely want to take care of each other. The University of Louisville campus life is a community and I think it is our responsibility to look out for each other and to have each other's back. And I think these suicide awareness and prevention trainings are a great resource to help ensure that everybody is just keeping an eye on each other and obviously, with love and good intentions. So, I heard you mention that some of these trainings are individualized trainings. Now, how would a group go about requesting some of these trainings?

Geri Morgan Sure, the best way is we have a request a workshop form on the Cards Speak website, so you can go to the DOS web page or cards and on the ‘get involved’ tab there's a list of all the trainings and it has instructions for taking Kognito on your own. But to request a QPR or an Its Real workshop, there's a form we like to have a little information about—who your group is, how many, you know, what exactly you're looking for. And then I, as the coordinator, will work with you who are requesting to get a trainer in there on the date that you hope to have the training. And if we need two trainers, we can provide that. So, and then we also provide some follow up information after the trainings. We send the information as far as how many have been trained to the State Office because of course we like to keep aware of all the data of how many people are being trained to help others. So, the best way is that get involved tab on the cards speak website.

Cishella Durling Sounds like you guys have made it painless. All you got to do is go on the website and take a look around and there's a lot of really great resources on that website which we'll talk about here in just a minute. And now, I earlier you had mentioned that you collaborate with outside programs. Now, is there anything coming up that students, faculty and staff might be interested in participating?

Geri Morgan Yes, glad you asked because we have our annual UofL campus Out of the Darkness Walk coming up on Sunday, April 23rd. So that's the day before the last day of classes. It's a good day to get out there and take a break from your studying and walk around campus with a bunch of people from UofL and the community. This is a partnership with AFSP, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It raises funds for them to continue their offerings of trainings. But raises awareness about suicide prevention and mental health on our campus. It's an annual event, we're hoping to have hundreds of walkers and raise thousands of dollars for this cause. We'll have a resource fair before and after, some speakers our honor bead ceremony. Sunday, April 23, the resource fair starts at 1:30. The walk itself, which is just contained within campus, starts at 3:00 o'clock. So, get a group together, get a team together, go to and you can register, and you can find out more about the campus walks.

Cishella Durling Geri, thank you so much. The University of Louisville, I say this all the time, the University of Louisville is truly a cardinal family. Thank you so much for your time today, giving us insights about the QPR training KOGNITO and some of those other suicide awareness and prevention trainings that the Dean of Students Office offers to students, faculty, and staff. So again, thank you for your time. We're going to go ahead and wrap this up with a “did you know” that cards speak stands for Suicide, Prevention, Education, Awareness, and Knowledge, and has a list of community and campus resources that can be found at their website Alright everybody. That's it for today. I hope you enjoyed another Student Affairs podcast, and we'll catch you next time.


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