Why SGA is encouraging its members to undergo suicide prevention training

The Student Government Association will use a training program from the QPR Institute.

CW+file

CW file

The Student Government Association (SGA) will offer free Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) gatekeeper training for suicide prevention to all SGA members this semester. 

The programming proposal was approved during Thursday’s Senate meeting. 

According to the QPR Institute’s website, its training teaches “gatekeepers” the warning signs of suicide and how to respond. A gatekeeper is “anyone who is strategically positioned to recognize and refer someone at risk of suicide.”

The SGA’s proposal highlighted the need to inform students and promote physical and mental well-being on campus.

“By presenting the opportunity for SGA members to receive QPR Suicide Prevention training, members will learn life-saving suicide prevention methods and be able to accurately recognize the warning signs early on,” Amanda Allen, an SGA senator, said.

Participation is optional for SGA members, but those who attend will earn six office hours toward their required number, which varies for members based on their position.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among U.S college students. COVID-19 has compounded rates of suicide and suicidal behavior.  

In a report published by the Centers for Disease Control in June, 40% of adults reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse.

“The University of Alabama Student Government Association recognizes the immense value of suicide prevention training and encourages students to seek resources from areas like the UA counseling center,” SGA Press Secretary Jackson Fuentes said. 

The training is offered in partnership with Tide Against Suicide, a program that aims to eliminate instances of suicide at the University by creating “a non-judgmental place where suicide is talked about openly and a community that rallies behind each other wherever they are on their journey.”

Allen said the SGA hopes to continue working with Tide Against Suicide to provide educational opportunities for its members in the future.