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Suicide education, prevention training offered for rural Minnesota communities

One program will be offered monthly online, and another will meet for a two-day course in Bloomington in March.

January 10, 2022

2 Min Read
farmer stands out in his snow-dusted cornfield
HOW TO HELP: Training programs are being offered this winter in Minnesota for those interested in learning how they can help prevent suicide. Jonathan Kirn/Getty Images

Suicide prevention training is being offered this winter specifically for Minnesota agricultural and rural communities.

Starting Jan. 18, a monthly suicide prevention program will be offered by University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Many in agriculture want to help with prevention but may not know where to start. One training program, known as Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR), teaches participants in three steps how they can help prevent suicide. QPR for Agricultural Communities will be offered monthly on the third Tuesday of the month, starting at 1 p.m. The first training is Jan. 18. Register online.

Emily Krekelberg, Extension educator for farm health and safety, will facilitate the training, drawing on her own experience from a family farm. This training was created in partnership with the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center and is intended for members of rural and agricultural communities over the age of 16. For more information, email Krekelberg.

A second option for learning about suicide prevention is through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The foundation is offering training through a program called ASIST — Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training. The two-day training will be held March 11-12 at the Courtyard by Marriot Bloomington, 7800 Bloomington Ave., Bloomington, Minn.

The course emphasizes teaching suicide first aid to help a person who is at risk for suicide stay safe and seek further help as needed. Participants learn to use a suicide intervention model to identify people with thoughts of suicide; seek a shared understanding of reasons for dying and living; develop a safe plan based upon a review of risk; be prepared to do follow-up; and become involved in suicide-safer community networks. Participants will develop skills through lectures, discussions, group simulations and role plays.

ASIST is a prerequisite for those who want to become certified as safeTALK prevention trainers. A safeTALK training will be held in late spring or early summer, sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health.

For more information about ASIST, contact Cassandra Linkenmeyer at 507-721-8246. For more information about safeTALK train-the-trainer courses, contact Tanya Carter at 218-332-5167. Learn more about safeTALK online, and read a story in The Farmer about the suicide prevention training.

The University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture contributed to this report.

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