On November 8, 2019 the Comprehensive Injury Center at WAICU member, the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), hosted the second annual WAICU Suicide Prevention Symposium. The symposium, supported by a Garrett Kelly Memorial Grant from the Charles E. Kubly Foundation, brought together faculty and staff from WAICU-member colleges and universities to participate in shared learning around primary prevention of suicide on academic campuses, and specifically around stigma reduction practices.
More than 80 participants attended the symposium, which featured local and national speakers. A panel of representatives from Carroll University, Concordia University Wisconsin, MCW, and St. Norbert College shared policies and practices that have been implemented on their campuses; a number of these policies and practices originated at last year’s symposium.
Onsite QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) gatekeeper training was offered at the symposium. Gatekeepers are people who are in a position to recognize a crisis and the warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide. Anyone can be a gatekeeper, and gatekeepers can apply their training in professional settings, for example, as office supervisors, instructors, first responders, or health care providers; or in personal settings as parents, friends, or community members.
The symposia are planned to continue next year. In addition to running prevention programs on campuses, WAICU and its members have offered input and expertise to the Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker’s Task Force on Suicide Prevention, which is looking at suicides affecting the state.