First Presbyterian

Learn how to help prevent suicide during a free morning workshop to be offered Saturday, Jan. 12, at Fayetteville’s First Presbyterian Church.

The two-hour workshop, from 10 a.m. until noon, is open to any caring person – parents, teachers, neighbors, friends, clergy, first responders and students.

 “Everyone needs to know how to address people at risk of suicide,” said Amy Guice, the executive director of Sam Foundation, a Ft. Payne-based non-profit founded in 2017 by the mother and sisters of a man who committed suicide at the age of 24.

Guice and other SamFound representatives will be directing the workshop.

 “These are the basic steps you can use if you sense someone is feeing sad – this training teaches how to ask the right questions, how to persuade someone to get help, and how to refer them to people who can help.”

Tony Watkins, a mental health therapist in the nationally recognized QPR intervention system, will be the presenter. Guice said that people from all walks of life – from mental health professionals to middle and high school students – have learned how to use the system.

Across Tennessee, according to a recent report, more than 1,000 people kill themselves each year – about 3 a day. Lincoln County was rocked in 2018 with several suicides, including of one teen who had been a member of the First Presbyterian youth group. While not all people who kill themselves give warning signs, the majority do. QPR – question, persuade, refer – is a kind of “CPR of mental health training,” Guice said.

 “We are sponsoring this event because we resolutely believe what Scripture tells us in Romans 8 that nothing in life or death ‘will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’,” said the Rev. Bruce McVey, pastor of the church. “Because of this belief, we are called to follow Christ’s example of reconciliation and healing to the best of our ability.”

No pre-registration is necessary, but any questions can be directed to the church at 433-1905. The workshop will be offered in the gymnasium of the historic church located at the corner of East College Street and Mulberry Avenue two blocks east of the Fayetteville Square.

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