The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network is a statewide public-private organization responsible for implementing the Tennessee strategy for suicide prevention as defined by the 2001 national strategy for suicide prevention.
Brenda Harper, the organization’s representative for the mid-Cumberland region, spoke at the presentation about people who were at higher risk for suicide and how they can be helped.
According to Harper, it’s important to understand which people are at high risk for suicide, as well as how to approach them if you recognize the symptoms. Some of the high-risk demographics include members of the LGBT community, Native Americans, and those highest at risk are people who have attempted suicide before.
“We’ve got to pay attention to the low-risk people, too,” said Harper. “We’ve always got to be paying attention. Even if it’s the 13th time you’ve heard someone talk about suicide, you need to address it.”
According to Harper, the event Tuesday night was meant to teach people about the question, persuade, refer method in dealing with suicide and to create “gatekeepers” who can help prevent suicide.
“You don’t have to be an actual counselor. All you have to have is a warm and kind and caring heart. That’s all you’ve got to have,” said Harper. “Anybody who is a caring person can intervene and try to stop a suicide.”
Harper also encouraged anyone who contemplates suicide to call the suicide prevention lifeline at 800-273-8255, or text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741.
At the conclusion of the event, each attendant was given a QPR certificate, as well as a packet with more information on suicide and how to help prevent it.
Another suicide prevention and awareness workshop will be May 22 in Spanish. Any Spanish-speaking members of the community are encouraged to attend.