September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and Chadron State College Health Services is hosting a speaker on suicide next Monday at noon in the Student Center.
Rhianna Brand of Casper is a member of the Wyoming Behavioral Health Advisory Council and a suicide survivor. Her speech is co-sponsored by the Panhandle Public Health District.
Brand says she tried to take her life after being a victim of sexual abuse at a young age and physical and mental abuse as she grew older that helped lead to alcohol and substance abuse.
Brand says no one knew she was struggling with a mental health crisis because she was cheerful and had a good academic history.
She now teaches the QPR – Question Persuade Refer – program that helps individuals notice warning signs of possible suicide and learn how to offer support to a person who may be struggling.
Brand says QPR training focuses on learning three steps to help prevent suicide: recognizing the warning signs, knowing how to offer hope, and knowing how to get help and save a life.
Her presentation will cover forming genuine human connections and performing safety checks as well as sharing her experiences on working through her alcohol and substance problems.
Although Brand’s program next Monday is open to everyone, it is focused on Chadron State students so there will be follow-up discussions about student resources with counselors on-site to assist any attendees affected by the program.
Chadron State is in the process of holding QPR certification training for its employees with two sessions already held for faculty and the first of 3 different times for staff this morning.