Indian Lake High School students learned the steps to take to save a friend’s life during a mental health crisis training session.
Students participated in a Youth Gatekeeper Suicide Prevention program, an abbreviated version of the Mental Health First Aid training the entire staff of Indian Lake Schools took earlier this year.
Consolidated Care Mental Health Case Managers Stephanie Ketchell and Carly St. Clair told nearly every freshman, sophomore, junior and senior that it is OK to ask a struggling friend whether he or she is contemplating suicide.
“I want them to understand that talking about suicide is not going to make somebody do it. It’s not going to give them an idea. Talking about it opens the conversation and allows that person to express what they’re really going through,” Ketchell explained.
The team also explained to students how to ACT: Acknowledge that there are signs of depression, self-injury or suicide, let your friend know that you Care and are Concerned for their well-being, and Tell a trusted adult about your worries.
Ketchell told the group that many young people fail to tell an adult because they are fearful their friend will be mad. However, she says in most cases when the person suffering from depression finally gets treatment, they are thankful.
“I know it’s a bold statement,” Ketchell said. “But I would rather have an angry friend than have a friend who’s not here anymore.”
Students left the assembly with a Gatekeeper workbook to recap what they learned in the presentation. They were also able to take with them wrist bands and highlighters featuring the local Crisis Hotline number (1-800-224-0422) and text number (4HOPETO741741).
The Gatekeeper training for students supplements other mental health programs at Indian Lake High School, including a special support group for students who have been touched by suicide in some way.
Submitted by the Indian Lake school district.