Salisbury University Launches Suicide Prevention Program - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Salisbury University Launches Suicide Prevention Program

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SALISBURY, Md. - Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college age students nationwide, which is why Salisbury University is happy to announce that they're kicking off a brand-new life, saving program.

It's called Stand4YOU and it was made possible by a $300,000 dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

School officials hope to use it to educate faculty, staff and students about suicide prevention, mental health and how to recognize a student who needs help as well as how to act.

Freshman Tevin Moore has personal reasons to be all for this new program.

"I have a friend who went through a similar situation with suicide and it impacted our community as a whole," said Moore. "I feel like awareness of that issue will help other people who feel like they can talk about their issues and not convert to suicide."

Ron Pilling knows the feeling of losing a loved one too young. He helped found a foundation for his friend Jesse Klump, who took his life in 2009. Pilling and other local experts spoke to students about the escalating issue of teen suicide.

"I bet that if you asked the question in here, 'how many of you in this audience know someone or know of someone that took their own life,' the majority of the hands would go up," said Pilling.

Kristin Thomas, a senior says that she's "definitely had personal experiences in high school with people committing suicide and how people deal with that and how important it is to have a good counseling center here."

"I will always listen to anyone who has an issue and that's what I told them is 'if you need something come to me, my door is always open. I will sit down and talk to you.'"

Salisbury University will be launching an interactive training program from a company called Kognito. 

Officials say that it's a simulation where faculty staff and students can get online and interact through avatars and identify students with problems.

"[They can] actually choose how to interact with them and make some selections with statements and get feedback on their responses," said Dr. Kathy Scott, Salisbury University Counseling Center director. "They get trained by the feedback that they get to make more and more effective interventions with these students that they are identifying with having problems."

The interactive tool will be up on the Counseling Center next week.

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