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Suicide prevention efforts continue through collaboration

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    Jones County High School CTI students Dena’ja Evans (l-r), Abigail Potts, Leena Gattie, Laci Rawlins and Alicia Gattie participated in the Chalk About Suicide Prevention activity. CONTRIBUTED

The Jones County Suicide Prevention Coalition members met via Zoom for their November meeting to discuss progress made and future plans.

The Nov. 30 meeting was hosted by Brandon Warwick, community program coordinator for Augusta University. He began the meeting with a recap of the impact of the coalition’s Facebook page. He said the page has reached 772 and included a new community spotlight from GSP officer Patrick Cullinan.

Lindsay Mangram, student research assistant at Augusta University, asked about the QPR Training that was scheduled Nov. 8 in Jones County.

Jones County Coalition coordinator Joy Carr said 18 Jones County volunteer firefighters attended the training, and because of the interest of those not able to attend, another session would be scheduled.

Carr said information specific to firefighters was used in the training in addition to the basic information. She said one of the focuses of the session was self-care.

“They were very engaged. We had a couple who were interested in peer support work,” she said.

The coordinator said QPR training was planned for staff at Gray Elementary and Wells Elementary schools, the Board of Education and bus drivers. She said other schools have participated with online training.

Mangram said the more community members who are trained the more effective it is.

Carr said the Jones County School System family engagement team has monthly group calls for additional support for those raising children who are not their biological children.

She said the conversation was about self-care, emotional support, gun and prescription safely.

Dr. Marlo Vernon said getting QPR training in schools is a long-range goal brought to fruition.

Warwick asked Carr if more suicide prevention supplies were needed for sporting events. Carr said footballs and rally towels had been given out at football games, but more items could be used for upcoming spring sports. She said tennis balls and baseballs could be handed out during those events and rally towels for track and field and golf.

The coordinator said they would like to be a bigger part in the Fields of Faith gatherings in Jones County. She said the event draws large groups, and it would be a good opportunity for the coalition to have more of a presence.

Mangram agreed that that more the information about suicide prevention is out in the community, the better.

“We would like to support that however and whenever we can,” she said.

Carr said the suicide prevention coalition ads are on about 25 percent of the shopping carts at Ingles in Gray.

Mangram asked about community interest in the film “My Ascension.” Carr said she has not received any interest from groups wanting to show the movie.

It was agreed that the coalition would not meet in December due to holiday schedules, and the next meeting would be in January.

The Georgia Crisis & Access Line (GCAL) supports people of all ages in need of crisis intervention. Help is available for students or other patients at risk of opioid misuse, overdose, or mental health problems to make sure they know they can receive free and confidential help at any hour. Assistance is available 24/7 by downloading the MyGCAL app or by calling the crisis line at 800-715-4225.