Nov. 15, 2012
By Jerett Rion
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in Missouri; more Missourians die by suicide than by DWI or homicide. To help combat this issue, officials from Partners in Prevention, a statewide coalition of Missouri universities headquartered at the University of Missouri, will make a suicide prevention program, known as “Missouri Ask Listen Refer,” available to anyone throughout the state.
“The MU Wellness Resource Center has been a partner of the Missouri Suicide Prevention Project since 2005, when we received our first youth suicide prevention grant,” said Scott Perkins, project director of the Missouri Suicide Prevention Project. “They’ve done an impressive job of training staff, faculty and students on campuses across Missouri. We are very happy to have this opportunity to not only continue working with the center on this important issue, but to fund this new program and help bring it to local communities across Missouri.”
Missouri Ask Listen Refer is a free online suicide prevention education program, which focuses on teaching Missourians how to ask at-risk individuals if they are contemplating suicide, listen to their thoughts and feelings, and refer them to professional counselors. Additionally, participants will be able to learn about warning signs, practice sample conversations and become aware of local resources.
Missouri Ask Listen Refer was first implemented on Missouri college campuses; however, the need for statewide education has been recognized and the program has been adapted in order to educate all Missourians. The program is available online, is anonymous, accessible 24 hours a day, takes 15-to-20 minutes to complete, and can be accessed at moasklistenrefer.org.
“Although we continue to offer a variety of in-person suicide prevention training programs, we know that it can be very difficult for many of those that would benefit from the training to attend a group training,” Perkins said. “This new online program will help fill that gap and assist local schools, churches and agencies in helping anyone that may be considering suicide and refer them to our local resources.”
The program is beneficial for professionals looking for a refresher or for those who want to begin their suicide prevention education.
Funding for Missouri Ask Listen Refer was provided through the Missouri Suicide Prevention Project, a joint project between the Missouri Department of Mental Health and the Missouri Institute of Mental Health at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Partners in Prevention works to promote healthy decision-making and prevent high-risk behaviors among college students.