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Veteran Suicide Prevention. Peer Mentoring Workshop Rachel Anderson & Joshua Rider Kent State University, Center for Adult & Veteran Service. Introductions. Rachel Anderson, Director Joshua Rider, Assistant Director & VA Certifying Official Kent State University

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veteran suicide prevention

Veteran Suicide Prevention

Peer Mentoring Workshop

Rachel Anderson & Joshua Rider

Kent State University, Center for Adult & Veteran Service

Kent State University 2012

  • Rachel Anderson, Director
  • Joshua Rider, Assistant Director & VA Certifying Official
  • Kent State University
  • 29,000 students @ Kent, Ohio campus
  • 610 GI Bill recipients

Kent State University 2012

  • Center for Adult and Veteran Services
    • Adult student support
    • VA Certifying
    • Adult Student Orientation courses (veteran only sections)
    • KSU Vets Club Advising
  • KSU Graduate Student Eddie Waldrep
  • 2nd Annual Serving Those Who Serve Conference
  • A continued need in the community, state and nation.

Kent State University 2012

a case for suicide prevention
A Case for Suicide Prevention

Defense Department Joins Suicide Prevention Alliance

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden

American Forces Press Service, DoD

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10, 2010 – Taking care of servicemembers is among Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’ top concerns, he said today, and that includes preventing military suicides.

“It is always a horrible tragedy to see a servicemember safely off the battlefield only to lose them to this scourge,” Gates said. “It is the ongoing duty of this department to do everything possible to care for those who protect our nation.”

Speaking at the launch of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention at the National Press Club here, Gates underscored the importance of a nationwide approach to suicide prevention. The alliance’s strategy pools federal and private-sector research and resources in hopes of better addressing the national suicide rate.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius are part of the alliance and represent the public sector on the board. Army Secretary John M. McHugh represents the public sector as co-chair.

The military suicide rate has increased steadily over the past five years, exceeding the national average of 11.1 suicides per 100,000 people. The military last year averaged 12.5, according to a Defense Department task force.

Suicide claimed 309 military members last year, and 267 troops committed suicide in 2008, the task force said. From 2005 to 2009, more than 1,100 servicemembers took their own lives, an average of one suicide every 36 hours, the task force said.

“We must and we will do better,” Gates said.

Kent State University 2012

the approach peer mentoring
The Approach: Peer Mentoring
  • What is peer based mentoring?
  • Empowering peers to assist each other
  • Providing training for success
  • Provides another layer of “eyes and ears”
  • Does not replace the role of administrators and professionals
  • What are the benefits of vet-to-vet mentoring?
  • Veterans have common experiences that are unique
  • Civilians may not know/understand complexities of combat or military service
  • Does not replace the role of civilian family, friends or professionals

Kent State University 2012

learning outcomes
Learning Outcomes
  • Better understanding of PTSD and Depression
  • Signs of suicide
  • How to respond to peers who might need help
  • Basic skills to intervene

Kent State University 2012

content cycle
Content Cycle

Kent State University 2012

pilot program workshops
Pilot Program/Workshops
  • 3 Workshops to Date(Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011)
  • KSU Vets Club leadership required attendance
  • 4 hour sessions with interaction between attendee and facilitator
  • Edward Waldrep, PhD Psychology student, U.S. Army veteran, facilitator
  • Positive responses from attendees: Different than the training received while in service.

Kent State University 2012

observed outcomes
Observed Outcomes
  • Survey Comments:
  • “Excellent class!”

What was the best part of this program?

“Interaction with other veterans.”


“Just talking to each other.”

Change in language among peer group leaders.

Students more alert to peer behavior (specific risk factors)

Using tools to identify risk factors.

Using appropriate language to communicate concerns with administration for referral and consultation.

Kent State University 2012

how to use the interactive workshop model
How to use the interactive workshop model

Designed three part education tool

  • Power Point slide show
  • Facilitator Guide
  • Participant Workbook

Unique feature

  • Role play scenarios
  • Interactive discussions
  • Flexible for specific campuses/audiences
  • Available on our department website March 1, 2012
  • License for 3 years
  • Use your own facilitator
  • Use multiple times with multiple audiences

Kent State University 2012

workshop 3

Describe good listening skills.

What verbal and nonverbal skills can you deploy to become a good listener?

Practice listening to a partner about their career goals.

Provide feedback about how well your partner was listening. What worked, what was less helpful?

Kent State University - Rachel Anderson 2012


Facilitator Note:

Workshop #3

The object of this breakout discussion is to practice good listening skills and to receive peer feedback. First review some good verbal and nonverbal validating responses for the listener. Then break up into pairs. Make sure each participant has the opportunity to practice both roles (listener and speaker). The facilitator may also observe and provide constructive, albeit brief, support.

Some prompting questions might include:

How does it feel to be the speaker when you are being listened to in a responsive/active manner?

How hard is it as the listener to stop yourself from providing advice or talking about yourself?

Kent State University - Rachel Anderson 2012

sample role playing scenario
Sample Role Playing Scenario

Rick is a OEF/OIF veteran newly enrolled into college. You notice he hasn’t attended classes lately, drinks more and more each week and seems uninterested in life. You see him outside the financial aid office and want to find out what’s going on.

Kent State University 2012

assessment tool
Assessment Tool

Peer Mentor Suicide Prevention Training


Date: ___________

Your evaluation is essential for future planning and for feedback to the facilitators. Please circle the response that most closely approximates your opinion.

Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree

  • The facilitator(s) was well informed on the topic. 5 4 3 2 1
  • I learned how to respond to peers who need help. 5 4 3 2 1
  • The role playing helped me apply what I learned. 5 4 3 2 1
  • I can imagine using what I learned with my peers. 5 4 3 2 1
  • I have a better understanding of PTSD & Depression. 5 4 3 2 1
  • I recommend all student veterans take this course. 5 4 3 2 1
  • This program should be repeated at a future time. 5 4 3 2 1
  • What was the best part of this program? ___________________________________________________________________
  • Additional comments:__________________________________________________________________________________

Kent State University - Rachel Anderson 2012

concluding comments
Concluding comments
  • Assess needs and identify trends
  • Identify key staff, students and faculty to address current concerns
  • Imagine creative solutions
  • Find new ways to document and share best practices

Kent State University 2012

thank you
Thank you!
  • Questions?

Kent State University 2012