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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

CAPS hosts suicide prevention, mental wellness training

Avery Gathright
Counseling and Psychological Services hosts a training on mental wellness and suicide prevention in the LGBTQ+ community on Nov. 14.

Wichita State students, staff and faculty had the opportunity to attend a training session hosted by Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) on Tuesday. The training, “Mental Wellness and Preventing Suicide in the LGBTQ+ Community,” lasted about an hour and a half and included CAPS staff members discussing signs of suicide and how to support someone going through a mental health crisis.

Attendees learned about different signs and symptoms that a person contemplating suicide may display and different factors that may influence LGBTQ+ people’s mental health and risk of suicide. 

According to The Trevor Project, LGBTQ youth are not inherently more likely to consider suicide, but how they are treated and stigmatized by society increases their risk. It is estimated that over 1.8 million LGBTQ+ youth in the U.S. consider suicide each year.

Alisha Petersen, the Ablah Library circulation supervisor,  attended the event not only because of her identity as an asexual homoromantic, but also because she works with students and wants to be aware of how to help them. 

“I hire, train and schedule anywhere between 15 to 20 student workers,” Petersen said. “I have had to refer someone to the CARE team in the past because they kept on making references to suicide and saying that they were jokes, but it did concern me. We’ve also had training like this at the library, and specialized training for the LGBTQ population resonated with me because that’s my population.”

Petersen explained her fear of being a bystander when a student displayed signs of contemplating suicide.

“I was honestly just really scared that they were going to kill themselves or hurt themselves in some way,” Petersen said. “And during the training, they made a comment about how hindsight is unfair. I think that was the thing that scared me the most. What if they do something and I saw something, but didn’t say anything?”

Attendees were given the opportunity to practice asking each other if they were contemplating suicide in a low-stakes environment. During the training, CAPS mental health counselor Samantha Tedder emphasized the importance of being direct when asking someone about the subject.

“If you hear some of those signs of suicide, we want you to be direct and ask that question,” Tedder said. “As humans … we don’t use the ‘s’ word in usual conversation. But here, we want you to say the word suicide. Be specific and be direct.”

Petersen appreciated the training and hopes to be able to attend similar events in the future.

“I am really grateful that they have this kind of training specifically for that (LGBTQ+) community,” Petersen said. “And if they had training for any other marginalized communities, I would definitely be interested in attending those as well.”

Anyone interested in learning more about CAPS can visit the university webpage. If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health concern, you can submit a concern at the CARE team website. In the case of an emergency, call 911.

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About the Contributor
Avery Gathright
Avery Gathright, Reporter
Avery Gathright is a first-year reporter for The Sunflower. Gathright is a secondary education major with an emphasis in English. She hopes to eventually teach AP Literature. Gathright uses she/her pronouns.

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