The rash of suicides around the area over the past couple of years has many of us asking how we can help. A town-sponsored suicide prevention committee has been meeting weekly since the first week in September to discuss ways of helping those in crisis and ensuring support for mental and emotional health in the community.
On Saturday, Nov. 3, the committee will host a “Gathering on the Green” with a program focusing on the issue of suicide. It begins at 2 p.m. on the Davidson Village Green, Main Street and Concord Road.
And the town will begin offering free “QPR” (“question, persuade and refer”) training in January to help citizens respond.
SATURDAY PROGRAM ON THE GREEN
Saturday’s program includes remarks by Mayor John Woods and other town leaders, music by the W.A. Hough High School Band and Davidson College’s a cappella group The Delilahs, and a moment of silence and candle-lighting. Hough student Emily Buckner will do a reading and lead a moment of silence and reflection.
Also planned: spoken word art by Boris Rogers; speeches by Emily Grimes, counselor and director of Mobile Crisis Services; and Tracy Mattison Brandon of Gethsemane Baptist Church; and information about community resources for suicide prevention and mental health.
“Davidson is a small town where we know and care about our neighbors. We want to start a conversation about mental health issues, specifically suicide, because people seem afraid to talk about it,” Mayor John Woods said in a statement Tuesday. “We’ve had an increase in suicides recently, and we need to make sure people of all ages know where to find help.”
Approximately 150 chairs will be set up on the green, and citizens are encouraged to bring their own. “Our goal is to fill the entire green for this very important message, just as we do for a concert – Davidson is the type of community that will join together for something like this,” Parks & Rec manager Kathryn Spatz said in a press release.
(In case of rain, the event will be at Davidson College Presbyterian Church Congregation House on Concord Road.)
FREE TRAINING COMING
The town formed a Suicide Prevention Steering Committee in September after recent suicides gained attention in town. This week, the committee got a new name: Davidson LifeLine. It includes mental health professionals, students, parents, educators, members of the faith community and other citizens, and is led by Davidson town Commissioner Jim Fuller.
Starting in January, Davidson LifeLine will offer suicide prevention training for all citizens, free-of-charge. This program, called QPR, is offered through the North Carolina Mental Health Association of the Carolinas. QPR stands for Question, Persuade and Refer, three steps anyone can learn to help prevent suicide. Just like CPR, QPR is an emergency response to someone in crisis and can save lives. More information will be released in the coming months, the town said.