Suicide prevention workshop held in Harris

NAMI Community Educator Kara Bennett taught the suicide prevention class in Harris Sept. 15.  Photo supplied
NAMI Community Educator Kara Bennett taught the suicide prevention class in Harris Sept. 15.
Photo supplied

Suicide is a topic that is close to many people. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) of Minnesota has been conducting Suicide Prevention Workshops around the state of Minnesota. On Sept. 15, they held a workshop in Harris.
The workshop was designed to give lay people (not mental health professionals) the tools they need to spot a potential suicide threat. Dispatchers, receptionists and intake workers are just some of the types of people that attended the workshop.
NBAMI Community Educator Kara Bennett taught the class. She said that if you suspect a potential suicide situation, it is important to “build a trust, a rapport. … Sometimes people will confide in you if there is no consequence.”
One consequence is the social stigma associated with suicide and depression. This is not something typically shared with a person’s close social circle where they want appearances to be good. However, if a confidant does not share the same social circle as the person struggling with thoughts of suicide, then there are more opportunities to share.
“A lot of work is being done in England about training barbers (in suicide prevention),” Bennett said. “They are someone you see regularly that you trust that does not share the same social circle.”
The hope is that the more people who become aware of warning signs like missing work, worrying excessively and withdrawing from family and friends, the more people can realize that “your brain can get sick just like your body can get sick,” according to Bennett, and the social stigma can be countered.
“When you come home from the hospital after open heart surgery everyone shows up with a hotdish,” Bennett said. “But when you come home after a suicide attempt, no one comes to help. They say things like, ‘Don’t worry, no one has to know about this.’” But Bennett continued, “Everyone should know about this. We need to make mental health illnesses ‘hotdish’ illnesses.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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