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<p>Our hope is that the frequently asked questions below will serve as a guide to help you add more tools to your safety planning toolbox during September 2021 Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.</p>

<p><strong>Q: What are some helpful communication strategies used to address distressed behavior?</strong></p>

<p><strong>A: </strong>How a person feels they were treated when they first disclosed their mental health challenges is critical. It is important for all of us to keep the focus on promoting a trauma-informed campus environment at MCC. If you are on the receiving end of concerning information, the strategies below have been proven to be helpful when engaging with someone who may be struggling with their mental health.&nbsp;</p>

<ul>
<li>Give your full attention</li>
<li>Don&rsquo;t try to have a private conversation if there are other people waiting to talk with you.</li>
<li>Be mindful of non-verbals:
<ul>
<li>Open posture</li>
<li>Avoid using cellphone or other distractions</li>
<li>Maintain comfortable eye contact</li>
</ul>
</li>
</ul>

<ul>
<li>Sit down somewhere private</li>
<li>Express your concerns in behavioral, specific, non-judgmental terms.</li>
<li>Listen first. Don&rsquo;t assume you know what the other person is going to say, even if you may feel as though you have heard it all. Each person is unique and wants to feel heard in order to trust you with their problem.
<ul>
<li>Focus on being an active listener and less on what you will say next.</li>
<li>Validate and acknowledge the person with attending behaviors, &ldquo;uh-huh or OK;&rdquo; even if you don&rsquo;t agree, you are communicating that you are listening and understanding what the person is trying to say.</li>
<li>Communicate understanding by summarizing what the person has said.</li>
<li>Avoid judging, evaluating, or criticizing. Accept and respect the person&rsquo;s point of view even if you disagree with it.</li>
</ul>
</li>
</ul>

<p><strong>Q: What are some common warning signs for those at highest risk?</strong></p>

<p><strong>A: </strong>These are some behaviors to be aware of, should a person disclose any of them in conversation. Remember that each case is individual and just because someone checks off one of these bullets, does not mean that they are necessarily at high risk.<em> </em></p>

<ul>
<li>Thoughts of killing oneself or others</li>
<li>Previous suicide attempt/s</li>
<li>Has a definite and detailed plan</li>
<li>Access to means (i.e., pills, firearms, sharp instruments)</li>
<li>Lack of protective factors/meaningful reasons for living</li>
<li>Has a history of impulsivity and/or poor self-control</li>
<li>Is under the influence of drugs or alcohol</li>
<li>Was recently discharged from a psychiatric hospital</li>
<li>Suicide note written and/or given away personal belongings</li>
<li>Feelings of despair or hopelessness</li>
<li>Psychotic symptoms</li>
<li>Family history of suicide/exposure to suicide in social environment</li>
<li>History of trauma</li>
</ul>

<p><strong>Q: What are some helpful things I could do or say if I am the first point of contact interacting with an individual who is feeling suicidal? </strong></p>

<p><strong>A:</strong><strong> </strong>Be direct, not tentative or beating around the bush i.e. &ldquo;have you been thinking about ending your life?&rdquo;</p>

<ul>
<li>Helps break down stigma. People are often ashamed of their suicidal thoughts. Approach in non-judgmental ways so that people feel more comfortable talking about it.</li>
</ul>

<ul>
<li>Empathize with the person and their desire to reduce their pain. Also let them know that there is help and hope out there.</li>
<li>Confirm person&rsquo;s location and emergency contact information if you are on a video or phone call with someone and you are interpreting safety concerns.</li>
</ul>

<p><strong>Q: How can I receive more education on this topic? </strong></p>

<p><strong>A:</strong><strong> </strong>There is a FREE Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) training available to you and we would encourage you to check it out. QPR training is:</p>

<ul>
<li>~1 hour in length</li>
<li>Designed to teach participants how to recognize someone who may be in emotional distress or having suicidal thoughts, and how to appropriately engage and connect that person to resources that can help.</li>
<li>For anyone to practice in any setting, and it is appropriate in all relationships.</li>
<li>Appropriate for those who do not have clinical training; you only need to possess a willingness to listen, care, and help.</li>
<li>Free for members of the SUNY community; you may <a href="http://www.qprtraining.com/setup.php">register for the QPR training here</a> and enter &quot;SUNY&quot; as the organizational code.</li>
</ul>

<p>Yours in community and health,</p>

<p>MCC Counseling Center &amp; Disability Services Team</p>

<p><a href="mailto:counselingservices@monroecc.edu">counselingservices@monroecc.edu</a> &amp; <a href="mailto:disabilityservices@monroecc.edu">disabilityservices@monroecc.edu</a></p>

MCC Daily Tribune

Raising Awareness During September 2021 Suicide Prevention Month

No one is immune from suicidal thoughts, regardless of their age, gender, or background, yet the topic of suicide often remains a taboo and stigmatized topic within our society. Our continued goal at the Counseling Center and Disability Services office is to spread awareness and compassion, and to help break down the barriers that prevent people from seeking the help that they deserve for their mental health challenges.

Our hope is that the frequently asked questions below will serve as a guide to help you add more tools to your safety planning toolbox during September 2021 Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

Q: What are some helpful communication strategies used to address distressed behavior?

A: How a person feels they were treated when they first disclosed their mental health challenges is critical. It is important for all of us to keep the focus on promoting a trauma-informed campus environment at MCC. If you are on the receiving end of concerning information, the strategies below have been proven to be helpful when engaging with someone who may be struggling with their mental health. 

  • Give your full attention
  • Don’t try to have a private conversation if there are other people waiting to talk with you.
  • Be mindful of non-verbals:
    • Open posture
    • Avoid using cellphone or other distractions
    • Maintain comfortable eye contact
  • Sit down somewhere private
  • Express your concerns in behavioral, specific, non-judgmental terms.
  • Listen first. Don’t assume you know what the other person is going to say, even if you may feel as though you have heard it all. Each person is unique and wants to feel heard in order to trust you with their problem.
    • Focus on being an active listener and less on what you will say next.
    • Validate and acknowledge the person with attending behaviors, “uh-huh or OK;” even if you don’t agree, you are communicating that you are listening and understanding what the person is trying to say.
    • Communicate understanding by summarizing what the person has said.
    • Avoid judging, evaluating, or criticizing. Accept and respect the person’s point of view even if you disagree with it.

Q: What are some common warning signs for those at highest risk?

A: These are some behaviors to be aware of, should a person disclose any of them in conversation. Remember that each case is individual and just because someone checks off one of these bullets, does not mean that they are necessarily at high risk.

  • Thoughts of killing oneself or others
  • Previous suicide attempt/s
  • Has a definite and detailed plan
  • Access to means (i.e., pills, firearms, sharp instruments)
  • Lack of protective factors/meaningful reasons for living
  • Has a history of impulsivity and/or poor self-control
  • Is under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Was recently discharged from a psychiatric hospital
  • Suicide note written and/or given away personal belongings
  • Feelings of despair or hopelessness
  • Psychotic symptoms
  • Family history of suicide/exposure to suicide in social environment
  • History of trauma

Q: What are some helpful things I could do or say if I am the first point of contact interacting with an individual who is feeling suicidal?

A: Be direct, not tentative or beating around the bush i.e. “have you been thinking about ending your life?”

  • Helps break down stigma. People are often ashamed of their suicidal thoughts. Approach in non-judgmental ways so that people feel more comfortable talking about it.
  • Empathize with the person and their desire to reduce their pain. Also let them know that there is help and hope out there.
  • Confirm person’s location and emergency contact information if you are on a video or phone call with someone and you are interpreting safety concerns.

Q: How can I receive more education on this topic?

A: There is a FREE Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) training available to you and we would encourage you to check it out. QPR training is:

  • ~1 hour in length
  • Designed to teach participants how to recognize someone who may be in emotional distress or having suicidal thoughts, and how to appropriately engage and connect that person to resources that can help.
  • For anyone to practice in any setting, and it is appropriate in all relationships.
  • Appropriate for those who do not have clinical training; you only need to possess a willingness to listen, care, and help.
  • Free for members of the SUNY community; you may register for the QPR training here and enter "SUNY" as the organizational code.

Yours in community and health,

MCC Counseling Center & Disability Services Team

counselingservices@monroecc.edu & disabilityservices@monroecc.edu

Morgan Kennell
Counseling Center & Disability Services
09/07/2021