The subject of suicide can be a difficult topic to discuss with a loved one, friend or family member who may be struggling with an overwhelming life event, addiction issue, or dealing with a mental health challenge. But it can be lifesaving to someone if you take the time to express concern, and refer them to the proper resources. There are many courses available (often free or low-cost) which can train you on what to look for, and more importantly what to SAY and what to DO if you suspect someone is contemplating suicide. There is Mental Health First Aid, which is a course put forth by the National Council on Behavioral Health (and delivered by NAMI Connecticut, and other agencies within the state of Connecticut). There is also QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training from the QPR Institute, which is offered locally by NAMI Manchester, as well as other organizations.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website www.afsp.org has some wonderful resources that both educate and assist you in having the conversation with someone who you think may be at risk.
NAMI Connecticut also offers their “Ending the Silence” (ETS) training courses to Middle & High School age children, as well as first year college students. ETS is a prevention and early intervention program that engages youth in a discussion about mental health and suicide prevention. There is also a companion course for Teachers and staff.
And for caregivers who wish to know more about the various types of mental illness, medications, and coping skills, NAMI Connecticut offers their free “Family-to-Family” courses, which are available now.
Also, be sure to check out the NAMI (National) website - www.nami.org for more information on educational, crisis and awareness raising resources.