At the R.J. Leonard Foundation, we encourage our volunteers to take part in suicide prevention training, either hosting the training ourselves or connecting Mentors and Board Members with the opportunity elsewhere. Recently, a potential volunteer questioned the need for suicide prevention training. He was planning to be a mentor, he said, not a counselor. Would he be expected to address suicidal ideations on his own?
The answer was, of course, no … but.
We don’t expect our Mentors to take on the role and responsibility of a crisis counselor. But that doesn’t mean a Mentor - or anyone - should pass up the opportunity to better understand suicide and suicide prevention. The reason for that is simple - suicide can affect anyone. There are factors that indicate a greater risk, but people of all ages, from all backgrounds experience suicidal ideations, attempt suicide or die by suicide every year. Suicide is , in fact, the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
Thus, we believe it is imperative that anyone in a role of support and guidance be informed about suicide prevention. Truthfully, we believe that everyone should be informed about suicide prevention.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. May it serve as a reminder and an opportunity for us all to learn more.