MU SPEAC aims to provide suicide awareness training

The Marshall University Suicide Prevention Education Across Campus organization works to inform people about suicide and suicide prevention.

“One life lost to suicide is too many, and it is all of our jobs to care about each other, to take care of each other and to be kind,” Katelyn Fowler, grant coordinator for MU SPEAC, said. “I believe by having this program it will help people be more confident and competent when it comes to dealing with someone in a crisis or helping someone who is reaching out.”

Fowler said the group tries to raise awareness and help change policies. 

“We conduct training as well as hosting free events. We get out on campus and in the community to try and help raise awareness for suicide prevention,” Fowler said. “Also, we advocate for policy change if that is needed and just try to help educate people on the topic of why people choose suicide and how we can help save lives.”

Fowler said MU SPEAC was created and funded through a national grant called the Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grant, created after a senator’s son completed suicide. Marshall is one of multiple campuses across the nation that receive three-year funding for the program.

MU SPEAC puts on QPR training and one-hour Gate Keeping Training, which is not limited to mental health professionals. Fowler said if a student cares about people and wants to be more educated on how to help others, MU SPEAC encourages anyone to attend and get involved.

“We have had many feedbacks from people after they have taken the course,” Fowler said. “They explain that they feel like they understand a little better, and they know how to talk to someone and know many resources that they can connect that person to if they are struggling and in need of help.”

Fowler said MU SPEAC wants to help make an impact to those on campus. She said this year is focused on promoting connectedness on campus by helping host events for students and others in the community to come out and engage in connection with other people. 

“It just takes a moment of kindness and caring to really pay attention to someone and pay attention to their behavior as well as what they may say to you,” Fowler said. “Everybody goes through stuff, but it just takes a moment to talk to that person and care for them.”

Students seeking more information on how to get involved may contact Katelyn Fowler at [email protected] 

Talor Bennett can be contacted at [email protected]