Suicide-prevention activists want Indiana schools and colleges to make themselves the first line of defense.
Eight states require schools to have suicide-prevention policies. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention wants Indiana to be the ninth.
And Indiana-Ohio area director Lisa Brattain says universities need more counselors trained in suicide prevention, and should make information about counseling resources part of freshman orientation.
Brattain says there aren't enough trained suicide counselors, on-campus or off. She says Indiana health professionals also need training in recognizing and addressing suicidal behavior.
“We’ve created an environment where there’s conversation being had and increasing help-seeking behaviors in people that are at risk,” Brattain says. “But, we don’t necessarily have the professionals trained in intervention skills in the volume that’s needed to meet the requests that are coming in.”
She notes urging people to get help isn't much good if they have to wait for an appointment.
“It’s a little hard to tell someone that has reached out for help and they’re in crisis – maybe not in imminent crisis right at this moment but they’re actively feeling suicidal – that they have to wait a couple weeks for an appointment,” Brattain says.
The foundation is talking with legislators about funding for training programs in the state budget next year.