Free Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Awareness Training


by Natalie Tryon, Staff Reporter

Simpson College counseling services will provide free in-person suicide prevention and mental health training on campus for students on Feb. 18.

 This event will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Hubbell Hall. Students must sign up ahead of time, as there is limited seating to ensure proper COVID-19 guidelines are followed. 

This event will include information about the Green Bandana Project, a project created by students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. 

The project’s main goals include decreasing the negative stigma commonly attached to mental illness by identifying students who are safe to talk to.

Students who serve as free-to-talk to wield a lime green bandana tied to their backpacks. This easily identifies they are there to support others and spread awareness about the importance of mental health.

The free training will also include information on the Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) model of suicide prevention. Similar to how CPR training provides knowledge and skills to save lives during a physical emergency, this nationally accredited model’s mission is to save lives for mental health emergencies.

Alex Rohn, a licensed mental health counselor at Simpson’s counseling services, wants students not to be afraid to reach out for more help and support. 

“Asking for help when you need it is one of the most courageous things you can do. Humans are not wired to do life alone; all of us need help and support every once in a while,” Rohn said.

Rohn shared a few tips for students struggling with their mental health. 

“Give yourself a little grace. College is hard, and attending college in a pandemic is even harder. Get enough sleep. Move your body and eat what fuels you. Connect with your support system,” Rohn said.

Jeremy Randol, a senior student and founder/president of Storm Speaks, a campus mental health group made by student-athletes for student-athletes, shares some words of wisdom for students facing mental health concerns. 

“It’s okay to not be okay,” Randol said. “You aren’t alone, and there are people who are there to support you. Also, there is no shame in seeking help. Part of the stigma surrounding mental health is that if you seek help, you are considered weak, weird, insane, etc. In reality, it’s the complete opposite. You are showing your strength. You have to do what’s best for you and not anybody else.”

President of Simpson College Active Minds chapter, Jordyn Wilson, also shared some advice. 

“Be gracious with yourself,” Wilson said. “If you’re struggling, especially right now with so many unknowns we are facing, be kind to your mind.”

Wilson echoed that students should feel able to discuss their mental health concerns or general feelings freely.

“Be aware of how you’re truly feeling and allow yourself to feel those feelings,” Wilson said. “If you’re struggling with your mental health, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. There are so many people and resources that would be more than willing to help you – like Simpson’s counseling services.” 

Registration for the free suicide prevention and mental health awareness training event closed on Feb. 12. Still, students are encouraged to reach out to Simpson College counseling services for more information regarding mental health support and campus resources. Simpson College counseling services can be reached by emailing [email protected] or calling 515-961-1332.