Suicide prevention skills shared at Multicultural Day event
Suicide is the second leading cause of death between people ages 15-34, but is preventable according to Sharon Manakas the Student Health Center coordinator.
According to Manakas, 123 suicides occur per day in the United States and 18 percent of suicides are by veterans.
“It’s all of our responsibilities to recognize and stop suicide,” said Manakas. “Suicide is one of the most preventable types of death.”
Manakas and a Moorpark College nurse Dena Stevens conducted a Multicultural Day event in EATM 208 to more than 40 Moorpark College students titled: Ask a question, save a life. This event was a Question Persuade Refer (QPR) certification training course for suicide prevention where all participants learned the skills to become a Gatekeeper to ask questions, persuade the person with suicidal thoughts and actions to make a change and to refer them to the specialist they need.
“Students who have taken this before and have used it say it works,” Manakas said.
Not only did the event display all of the statistical information, but the practical information on how to approach that person dealing with suicidal thoughts or actions and what to do after. The workshop stressed what was the right time to make to take action.
“Listen to those gut feelings because most of the time it’s right,” Manakas said.
The next crucial steps take place after the initial approach is made with asking a question, persuading the individual and referring them to the professional. The person needs to commit to changing in specific ways and that is when the Gatekeeper must refer them to the correct spot. The most important step however, is to ask the question.
“It’s important to take that first step and ask a question,” Stevens said. “If you cannot ask the question, find someone who can.”
This informative event that left all attendees with a QPR Gatekeeper Certificate, left many students with more information about suicide prevention than what they knew coming into the event, including David Reyes an 18-year-old Journalism major.
“I thought that this event would be interesting to go to,” Reyes said. “I learned that this training could help a lot and that I can help save lives.”
Along with Reyes, Candice Ortega a 28-year-old nursing major was able to expand her knowledge on this issue, which she can directly use while working at the hospital that she has been at for a little over two-and-a-half years.
“There are a lot of people going through depression right now,” Ortega said. “I feel like I would know how to make a first step.”
The Student Health Center is here to help all of the Moorpark College community with providing their own services, along with hotlines to call. There are USA National, Veterans, LGBTQ and Crisis text suicide hotlines along with the L.A. County and Ventura County Behavioral Health crisis team. If there is a mental crisis, call 911, said Manakas and Stevens.