Kathleen Fuchs

Tag: Kathleen Fuchs

Don’t Sit in Silence: Empty Chair Display Designed to Raise Awareness of Suicide Prevention

Lawrence University commemorates Mental Health Awareness Month with a starkly powerful representation of the number of people who die from suicide every day in the United States — 180 empty chairs.

The “Don’t Sit in Silence” event will be displayed Thursday, May 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the plaza outside of the Warch Campus Center. In the event of inclement weather, the chair display will be moved to the gallery area inside the campus center.

Some of the chairs will feature simple postcards with anonymous messages written by Lawrence students, faculty or staff members, expressing both struggle and hope. Others will include self-expression masks that have been created by students over the course of the past three years as part of the on-going initiative designed to portray what we show and what we hide from others.

In addition, a series of stories submitted by students revealing how they have been impacted by someone’s suicide will be displayed.

“This very personal display is our contribution to a month-long series of local events acknowledging the impact of mental illness on so many of us and celebrating the resilience of those who draw hope and strength from others who care,” said Kathleen Fuchs, coordinator of Lawrence’s Lifeline Project and adjunct associate professor of psychology.

In conjunction with the event, a 30-minute film created by senior Sam Schilsky — The Lifeline Project Documentary — about suicide prevention and awareness on the Lawrence campus. The film covers prevention efforts the campus has taken in the past four years and is an informative piece about suicide awareness. It is a collaborative piece supported by multiple grants and Lawrence faculty, staff and students.

“Don’t Sit in Silence” is sponsored by the Lawrence Lifeline Project and the Lawrence Chapter of “To Write Love on Her Arms,” in conjunction with NAMI-Fox Valley and the Northeast Wisconsin Mental Health Connection.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.



Counseling Services Director Discusses Community Suicide Prevention Efforts in Live Webcast

Kathleen Fuchs, Lawrence University’s director of counseling services and adjunct associate professor of psychology, will be the featured guest Thursday, Feb. 11 at 11:30 a.m. in a live webcast interview with members of the editorial board of The Post-Crescent.

Fuchs will discuss Lawrence-led initiatives to engage the campus and Fox Valley communities in suicide prevention efforts. To watch the interview or join the conversation, visit www.postcrescent.com.

Lawrence recently was awarded a $25,130 grant from the J.J. Keller Foundation, Inc. to coordinate free suicide prevention training by mental health experts for Fox Valley area educators and youth-serving nonprofit organizations.

Last fall, Lawrence received a three-year $300,000 grant Lawrence from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to implement a comprehensive initiative designed to lower suicide risk and enhance protective factors among Lawrence students.

Read excerpts from the interview here.

Lawrence University Awarded $25,000 Grant by J.J. Keller Foundation for Community-Wide Suicide Prevention Training

Lawrence University has been awarded a $25,130 grant from the Neenah-based J.J. Keller Foundation, Inc. to coordinate free suicide prevention training by mental health experts for Fox Valley area school districts and youth-serving nonprofit organizations.

Under the direction of Kathleen Fuchs, director of counseling services at Lawrence and adjunct associate professor of psychology, the grant will provide advanced clinical skills training and evidence-based gatekeeper instructor training for area clinicians, student services staff and staff from youth-serving non-profit agencies. The goal is to train key personnel to better recognize early warning signs of suicide risk and connect young people to existing mental health services for earlier and more effective intervention and treatment.

The Keller grant comes on the heels of a three-year $300,000 grant Lawrence was awarded last October by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to implement a comprehensive initiative designed to lower suicide risk and enhance protective factors among Lawrence students.

“The SAMHSA grant was terrific news for the Lawrence community, but the college strongly wanted to ensure that the broader Fox Cities community also benefited,” said Fuchs. “The terms of the SAMSHA grant limited what we could spend on activities that won’t directly benefit a college audience. Through the generosity of the Keller Foundation, this grant will enable us to reach beyond the campus borders and extend some benefits of that federal grant throughout the Fox Valley.

“Given the recent tragedies in the community, we felt it imperative that we accelerate our timetable for carrying out the planned training and make every effort to extend its community impact,” Fuchs added. “With the help of the Keller grant, we’ll be able to begin that training as soon as this March.”

David Mays, a forensic psychiatrist at the University of Wisconsin and former director of the forensic program at the Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison, will lead two day-long training workshops in mid-March on mental health and suicide assessment skills for invited participants from the Lawrence and Fox Valley communities. The workshops will include a day of in-depth core competency training specifically for higher-ed, K-12 and community practitioners that will enhance skills in effectively guiding persons at high suicide risk through critical moments in their lives.

Workshop participants will include representatives from local public and private K-12 school districts, Fox Valley Technical College, UW-Fox as well as Affinity and ThedaCare Behavioral Health units. Other key area nonprofit organizations such as NAMI, the YMCA, Goodwill-Harmony Cafe, Boys & Girls Club and others will be invited to participate.

Additional training this summer will utilize QPR — Question, Persuade, Refer — an evidence-based program that empowers ordinary individuals to recognize early warning signs of an individual in distress, open a supportive dialogue that persuades the individual to accept help and connect them to mental health services.

“The QPR model is based on a ‘chain of survival’ approach much like CPR,” Fuchs explained. “With just a 90-minute training session, participants can learn to be ‘gatekeepers’ who know how to recognize early suicide warning signs and reach out to people in distress.”

Fuchs said the QPR gatekeeper instructor training sessions made possible by the Keller grant will involve 62 community members. Those trained instructors will then conduct QPR gatekeeper training for their organization’s internal and external audiences over the course of the ensuing 18 months.

“Through the QPR instructor training, we’ll be able to provide organizations with a self-sustaining resource, allowing us to create a tremendous impact with a relatively small up-front investment,” said Fuchs. “Our first 62 trained instructors will subsequently train at least 1,550 new gatekeepers. If each gatekeeper reaches at least 50 students, colleagues, friends and neighbors, we will have put 77,500 members of our community within reach of early intervention.”

The Keller Foundation’s primary mission is to support organizations, projects and programs that address the causes and consequences of poverty. The focus population is homeless and disadvantaged individuals, the elderly, and children and youth. The Foundation was formed by John J. “Jack” and Ethel D. Keller in 1991 and their family has continued the Keller legacy of giving since their passing. Nearly $25 million has been given to more than 300 community organizations over the past two decades.