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New Suicide Prevention Training Now Available for UW-Madison Faculty and Staff

The University Health Services Suicide Prevention Team has recently launched Recognize, Respond, Refer: Online Suicide Prevention Training for Faculty and Staff.

There are five core modules: Foundations, Recognize, Respond, Refer, and Re-Engage. Each module builds important skills for intervening and provides examples to help faculty and staff understand what to do when a student is experiencing mental distress. When taken together, the modules provide a valuable guide for having conversations about suicide and can also increase instructors’ confidence in talking with students about mental health. The training is self-guided – learners can start, stop, and revisit portions of the training at any time. In total, the training takes about an hour to complete. 

“Faculty are encountering more and more students in our classrooms who need mental health support,” says Randy Stoecker, Professor in Community and Environmental Sociology. “This training is helpful not only for engaging with students experiencing suicidal thoughts but also with the students dealing with the anxiety, depression, and other mental health traumas of living in this time and place.” 

You do not need to be an expert to notice the warning signs of a mental health crisis and act. Some of the most important relationships UW-Madison students have on campus include faculty and staff mentors, supervisors, advisors, and instructors. National data shows that 16 percent of students report having already talked with academic personnel about mental health impacting their academics. 

“We encourage all faculty and staff to participate in the training and share this opportunity with colleagues,” said Valerie Donovan, UHS Population Health Manager. “We value faculty and staff partnership in campus-wide prevention efforts, and this training provides an important overview of strategies and resources that we all can use to support UW-Madison students and prevent suicide.” 

“I found the suicide prevention training to be applicable for all student populations,” says Elaine Goetz-Berman, Graduate and Professional Student Assistance Specialist in the Dean of Students Office. “Anybody who works directly with students should take this training is order to feel best equipped to have difficult conversations should it ever come up, and also because it helps to create a caring community on campus.” 

The training does not offer immediate support or services to those in distress. Instead, it prepares faculty and staff to be better able to support students in the future. If you are in crisis, call the UHS 24-hour crisis line at 608-265-5600 (option 9) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255. 

Suicide Prevention Training for UW-Madison Students is also available in Canvas. This training has been available to students since Fall 2019. 

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