UW-Madison students receive training dedicated to suicide prevention

Published: Feb. 26, 2023 at 10:35 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Thanks to $60,000 in funding from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, a Wisconsin nonprofit focused on mental health is expanding their suicide prevention training.

Executive Director of Friendship Circle of Wisconsin Levi Stein says two to three people die in Wisconsin from suicide every single day, but their suicide prevention training, SafeTALK, has proven effective.

“Bring this training, it will save a life,” Stein said. “Statistically speaking within 90 days of every training a life is saved. So this is an evidence based training, it works, it keeps people alive.”

A group of UW-Madison students decided to spend their Sunday participating in the training. Sophomore Daniel Shveytser said he wishes the training was offered in more places around campus.

“Especially in a college town, I feel like this is the perfect place to do it, to get the young minds thinking about this sort of stuff so that they can prevent serious situations like this,” he said. “For the age that we’re in we don’t really necessarily talk about it as much as we should.”

Stein said the recent funding allows their organization to go anywhere in the state they are needed, people just have to ask.

“What I love about this is it’s not a program that you have to come to Friendship Circle to take, it’s a program we can bring to you, all I need is a projector and people and we’ll make it happen. The best thing you can do is bring this training to your community. Reach out to us, give us a call, contact us on our website, and say, ‘I wanna bring SafeTALK to my community.’ As long as you can gather at least ten people, ideally up to 30 people, we’ll do it.”

According to Stein, despite the statistics, he is optimistic about the future.

“Things will get better, suicide rates could go down and should go down, and this is the training that could help turn that corner. There’s a lot of other things that can be done and that people are doing, but I think this is probably the most important thing.”

For information on how to support someone thinking about suicide, visit https://dhs.wisconsin.gov/prevent-suicide/index.htm. To bring SafeTALK to your community, visit https://www.fcwi.org/.

The National Suicide Hotline can be dialed at anytime at 988.

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