Caring Contact, a volunteer-staffed caring and crisis hotline, will provide suicide awareness and intervention skills training for Westfield High School students on Friday, February 22, 2019 from 6:45 to 9:00 p.m. in the WHS library. The two-hour training is free and for WHS students only.
“Friends are often the first line of communication for teens in emotional distress,” says WHS health educator Susan Kolesar who attended the Caring Contact course, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), two summers ago. “We need to equip students with skills to help one another. They are not counselors but they can be supportive friends who listen and lead their peers toward proper channels for help. This course will give students evidence-based strategies for doing just that. They will also learn the potential warning signs for people at risk for suicide.”
With the help of a grant provided by the Westfield Area Youth Volunteer Experience (WAYVE), six WHS students subsequently attended the ASIST training and were “so positively influenced,” says Kolesar, that they decided to bring a condensed version of the course back to their peers.
Senior Emma Krueger is taking the lead in planning the event.
“The ASIST course has not only supplied me with new and proper methods of helping others but has opened up my perspective on mental health and the importance of sustaining one’s mental health as a whole,” says Krueger.
The WHS Parent-Teacher-Student Organization (PTSO) is funding the cost of the training while students leading the program have raised about $200 toward the cost of providing refreshments at the event.
More information about the 2-hour “Be the One to Ask” course on February 22 can be found in the Community Flyers section of the district website. Registration is not required, but for planning purposes, is appreciated by emailing email@example.com.