Student Government Association to Host Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention Training Day

By Rachel Gobep

The Youngstown State University Student Government Association and partners will present the third annual Mental Health Advocacy Training professional development experience in April.

It is an opportunity to educate students, faculty and staff on present mental health concerns and the importance of talking about mental health and suicide at YSU. The training day is also a professional development opportunity, according to an SGA press release on Feb. 26.

Anne Lally, the assistant director of counseling services, said YSU students, faculty and staff should be involved in the training day because the campus is a community.

“This training will provide each individual with an understanding of a person in crisis,” she said. “Whether your friend, coworker, roommate, classmate, peer, family member, etc. approaches you with a crisis we will have learned skills to listen, support and refer from this day.”

Lally said those who attend the training day will also learn tools to show “genuine empathy” because there will be a “clearer understanding of others’ issues.”

“[They] will feel comfortable encouraging the individual to see a trained professional who can provide the appropriate intervention,” Lally said.

Ernie Barkett, vice president of SGA, also said it is important for the YSU community to participate in this event because mental health can sometimes be overlooked.

“Education is a key step in preventing and improving the mental health, and we hope this program can enlighten as many YSU community members as possible,” he said.

Barkett said due to the stressful environment in college, mental health issues can arise and be prevalent.

“With the diverse community of students, faculty and staff it is important to educate as many individuals as possible, so that we can advocate for the mental health together to better the campus community as a whole,” he said.

Rayann Atway, president of SGA, said an array of people will be presenting at the event. She said in the morning, graduate students will present various topics such as eating disorders, anxiety/depression, bipolar disorder, trauma related disorders and the overlap between physical and mental health.

“In the afternoon, there will be a luncheon, presentations from different campus departments [and] a presentation on mental health policies at the state level from Representative Marlene Anielski,” Atway said.

She said the afternoon suicide prevention and training portion of the event will be led by YSU’s Mental Health Counselors, Dr. Ann Jaronski and Lally.

Lally said the training will be to help the community to identify warning signs and risk factors of those in crisis.

“Our goal is to provide ‘gatekeeper’ training so that individuals feel comfortable listening to an individual in crisis in a supportive manner and comfortably refer them to the appropriate source,” she said.

Certificates of participation will be given to all attendees.

The SGA encourages all students, faculty and staff to attend the event in order to help SGA continue the movement toward speaking up on behalf of others and breaking the stigmas associated with mental health disorders, according to the press release.

The event will take place April 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Chestnut Room in Kilcawley Center at YSU.

Admission is free and open to the campus community. Pre-registration is required for participation in the lunch portion of the day, from noon to 1 p.m.

Atway said attendance during the entire duration of the event is not required.