Since establishment of our organization, we have remained dedicated to decreasing suicide rates in veterans and reducing the devastation it has on family members and our community. In our efforts to complete this, we have become increasingly aware of suicide statistics in youth and young adult populations. Thus, our current vision is to spread awareness and increase skill-sets in those who are in optimal positions to influence high-risk individuals in our communities as a suicide prevention initiative.
Trinity Health Foundation of East Tennessee supplied our organization with a small grant to address our goal of suicide prevention in veterans. This Phase I grant sought to train 10 QPR Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Instructors (through scholarships funded through the grant) who would, in turn, train approximately 2,000 individuals as gatekeepers. To carry out the Phase I plan, our organization partnered with various organizations to deliver QPR Gatekeeper training to 17 individuals. Thus, our goal was far surpassed. In our efforts to complete our mission, our awareness of the scope and magnitude of suicide and suicide ideation in our country grew significantly. Along with this, our vision and empowerment expanded; therefore, we developed goals to be more proactive on a much larger scale.
Through a Phase II grant also provided by Trinity Health Foundation, we will provide scholarships to train 100 new Gatekeeper Instructors. Phase II will specifically focus on spreading awareness and increasing skill-sets in those who are in optimal positions to influence high-risk individuals in our communities, including Knox County and surrounding areas. Clergy, youth pastors and leaders, employers, officers and personnel within community-based and veteran service organizations will be educated using evidence-based QPR Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper training to help identify, intervene and assist in recovery of suicide ideation and attempts. Trainers will become acquainted with resources to make appropriate referrals, which will aid in the treatment of mental health disorders as well as other factors contributing to a decreased quality of life for those considering self-harm or suicide. Our organization is placing a great emphasis on training those in faith communities as the faith component not only adds that element of hope, but also serves to nurture and connect people, which is powerful in continuing life of those who are considering self-harm or suicide. We are particularly dedicated to reaching those between the ages of 5-24; this age group not only shows significant growth in suicide rates, but ideation at this age increases risk-factors and suicide rates in all age categories that follow. Nonetheless, we are open to training any individual who may have a great influence on high-risk individuals of any age.