Training in Cedar Rapids aims to prevent suicide

Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 4:10 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -A training taking place at the public library in downtown Cedar Rapids focuses on suicide prevention. It comes as Linn County reported 46 suicides last year alone.

The two-day course started Thursday. Participants took a survey in which nearly all of them said they knew someone who has died by suicide.

”This is something that impacts so many people and very likely impacts a lot of the people that you might know,” said Sydney Carpintero, Youth Services Program Coordinator for the Mobile Crisis Outreach team at Foundation 2 Crisis Services.

Foundation 2 Crisis Services is leading the training called Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training or ASIST. Attending this session are counselors, teachers, social workers and more.

“The whole basis of the training is that we are building a suicide safer community focusing on the idea that literally everyone has a role to play in suicide prevention,” Carpintero explained.

Whether you’re struggling yourself or want to be prepared to help loved ones or those you work with, leaders say this training can help. It comes as more people are talking about mental health.

”That’s something that we really appreciate in the community because we know when people feel more comfortable talking about suicide and mental health they’ll reach out for services,” said Katie Curtis, Chief Development Officer at Foundation 2 Crisis Services.

It’s something leaders have already noticed, especially with the rollout of 988. That’s the new simplified phone number for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

“Since 2020 we’ve seen over a 30% increase in calls and since the launch of 988 I believe the call volume has increased like 50%,” Curtis said.

Those wanting to participate in the suicide prevention training just need to be 16. Foundation 2 Crisis Services plans to host the course in the Cedar Rapids area each quarter. Leaders also travel to teach it in other communities in Iowa.

“Every time I teach this training I feel like I learned something new myself so I just think there’s a lot of benefit in it,” said Carpintero.

People wanting to participate in future sessions can get more information by contacting Foundation 2 Crisis Services at (319) 362-2174.