Center For Academic Success Provides Suicide Prevention Services

By RikkiLynn Shields

The Center for Academic Success instituted a suicide prevent program in 2011, wherein all tutors working in each office are required to take a suicide prevention training course.

The suicide prevention training course is also known as QPR, or Question, Persuade, Refer, which are the three steps that anyone can take to help save a life. According to the QPR Institute, “The QPR mission is to reduce suicidal behaviors and save lives by providing innovative, practical and proven suicide prevention training. The signs of crisis are all around us. We believe that quality education empowers all people, regardless of their background, to make a positive difference in the life of someone they know.”

In 2011, when Dr. Terrance Hannigan was named the director of counseling and health services at Manhattan College, he made it mandatory for all tutors working in the Center for Academic Success to go through a suicide prevention training course.

“The suicide prevention training is all about techniques for how to approach people who are considering suicide,” CAS tutor John Fiore said. “The program gives some very surprising facts about suicide rates, and the various reasons for people doing it. It also provides the people in the program with information regarding the on-campus facilities and resources available here at Manhattan College, such as the Counseling Center.”

According to the suicide statistics put together by Emory University, suicide is the third leading cause of death among people ages 15 to 24, and the second leading cause of death among people ages 25-34. Every year, there are more than 1,000 suicides that take place on college campuses.

In addition, many other college students attempt suicide, or have suicidal thoughts. Suicide is a leading cause of death among college students in the United States. Suicide and suicidal behaviors are a major concern for colleges in the U.S., which is why Manhattan College introduced the suicide prevention program to campus.

“I learned that men have a higher suicide success rate than women because they’re more prone to use weapons when doing so,” Fiore said. “Women on the other hand are more likely to attempt overdosing on pills which has a lower success rate. I also learned that people are more likely to commit suicide in areas with a less dense population such as Montana and Wyoming, as opposed to places like New York.”

Fiore said he has had many students come in for tutoring that were very stressed out from their workload. The skills that he learned in QPR training were still applicable to this type of situation. He said the techniques for interacting with people considering suicide are just as useful for helping out students struggling in school

After the training, Fiore was able not only to help students with subject material, but he is also now able to provide students with techniques for studying in the future to alleviate stress related to school.

“I thought the program was very useful and insightful. I learned a lot about the various signs to look out for when it comes to suicidal people and how to approach people showing them,” he said. “It also broadened my perspective as far as the types of peoples that can potentially commit suicide. It really reinforced the idea that anyone can be prone to it no matter the circumstances they’re facing in their personal lives.”

The purpose of Manhattan College’s Center for Academic Success is to give students all the help they need to succeed in school, with as little stress as possible. The CAS makes it easy for students to get help in classes, help with work and help in any areas of their personal lives. Their open door policy and extended hours were made to assist all students, whenever they are in need of extra help.

“I think it’s mandatory for CAS workers to receive suicide training because it’s a position where we interact with students on a one-to-one basis. This allows us to get to know students well, and it’s a setting in which students could show signs of self-harm,” Fiore said. “Students are more likely to open up in one-on-one scenarios so the techniques learned in QPR could become necessary at any time. Most importantly, though, this training reinforced the truth that anyone can be prone to suicide. I think that all students should go through suicide training so we can be more helpful to everyone in the Manhattan College community.”