Trigger warning for sensitive material discussed: suicide, suicidal ideation.

The team at Mary Walker Health’s Counseling Services is bringing suicide prevention awareness to campus in April, including a training open to all students, faculty and staff and an awareness exhibit. 

Although suicide is a sensitive topic, it remains a public health reality even on college campuses – suicide remains the second-leading cause of death for individuals ages 10-43 in the United States according to statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in 2019.

By bringing this training and exhibit to campus, Counseling Services aims to ensure that students, faculty and staff are trained and aware of the signs of suicidal ideation and crisis, as well as ways to constructively intervene. 

The QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Suicide Prevention Gatekeeping Training is a free, 90-minute session that will help individuals recognize warning signs of suicide, how to offer hope and how to get help to save someone’s life. 

“We encourage anyone to take the training because we view it just like CPR,” said Emily Tepfenhart, media and communications coordinator for Counseling Services. “It can be very challenging to encounter these situations, especially if you don’t know if it’s the right call to connect someone to help or if you’re overstepping –- there’s a lot of things to consider. Through this training, people learn what resources they can connect with.”

In 2020, SUNY Oswego’s Counseling Services received a grant from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) to create strategy-driven, evidence based ways to combat suicide on campus. Shortly after, the QPR train-the-trainer program began; now, more 20 faculty and staff members can host QPR trainings to groups by request. 

“We have a pretty substantial network of individuals around campus who can teach this,” Tepfenhart said. “They are in different areas of campus, different departments and different offices.” 

The training on Wednesday, April 13, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. is one of the first of its kind. The Counseling Services team hopes to gauge campus interest in public training events like this for any student, faculty and staff member interested, as well as keep its current model that includes by-request training for individual groups with its current trainers available.

To register for the April 13 event, you must be a current student, faculty or staff member of SUNY Oswego. Please follow this link to the registration page.

If you cannot attend these sessions, you can still request a session by utilizing the same registration form.

Send Silence Packing exhibit

In conjunction with the QPR Training, Counseling Services will also host a Send Silence Packing exhibit in coordination with Active Minds, a national non-profit working to change the culture around mental health, on April 11 between Penfield Library and the Marano Campus Center.

“The goal of the exhibit is to raise awareness to loss from suicide,” Tepfenhart said. “It also goes hand-in-hand with building that culture on campus about looking out for those who may be struggling and suicide prevention culture.” 

Because this exhibit can be triggering to those viewing it, Counseling Services staff will be at the exhibit to talk to those who may need it at the event. For those wishing to avoid the display, please see “alternative route” signs that will be placed on the outer edges of the display.

It's okay to not be okay

Visit for all events hosted by the team at Counseling Services, including Tea Talk, Let’s Talk Drop-In and Grief and Loss Support Group.

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health or suicidal ideation, be sure to contact:

  • Counseling Services: 315.312.4416 (after hours choose prompt 2) 
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
  • Crisis Text Line: text “BRAVE” to 741-741