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      Educators learn how to prevent suicide

      A group of educators from Marquette County met Wednesday to take action and prevent suicide.

      Several teachers and guidance counselors from Marquette, Ishpeming, Negaunee and Gwinn School Districts spent the entire day learning about suicide prevention.

      "QPR method is a fundamental suicide prevention program that says all people in our community are responsible for suicide prevention," said Mary Van Haute, the QPR trainer. "We teaching them warning signs, get them comfortable using the term suicide, asking appropriate questions, and making proper referrals."

      These warning signs include a change in behavior, isolation, and obsessive tendencies. The class also learned the importance of reducing the stigma of suicide.

      "Committed something implies that someone literally was wrong or doing something against the law. In fact, we'd like people to understand better that a healthy mind does not kill itself," Van Haute said.

      Teenagers are considered a high risk group for suicide, in part, because of bullying. According to Van Haute, social media sites have contributed to a lack of civility because anyone can say the harshest things behind the comfort of their computer screen.

      A string of suicides around the area over the past year has led to growing concerns from educators on the stress put on kids these days.

      "I think there's just a lot of pressure from friends, a lot of pressure in school as well in academics," said Kim Carr, a teacher at Marquette Senior High School. "Those added pressures to do well, to be the best friend--it's a lot for them to take sometimes."

      Following Wednesday's training, the educators will be certified to instruct others in their communities on how to identify kids in trouble and get them help.