Safe Communities Madison-Dane Co. encourages anyone who wants to learn about myths associated with suicide and how to talk about it, to attend the free talk at the Cooksville Community Center.

The program offered by Jean Papalia will give a presentation at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20 center, at the corner of Hwy 50 and Church St. The presentation is 75 minutes to conclude with a Q&A discussion.

Mary Zimmerman, former member of the Safe Communities Madison-Dane Co. and member of the Cooksville Community Center, said people need to keep talking about the subject of suicide, because it continues to be a very serious problem.

“You hear stories from celebrities down to people that you know closely. Even though there have been efforts in many years Dane County and Rock County to try and address this. The numbers are not coming down,” Zimmerman said.

Papalia will present a powerpoint from the QPR institute, which hopes to reduce suicidal behaviors and provide prevention training according to their website. QPR stands for “questions, persuade and refer.”

Questions refers to asking a person about suicide, which Zimmerman said is the most powerful thing to do with someone who you think might be in that situation. Then persuade is about providing empathy and persuading someone to get help. And lastly refer, which is to refer someone to the appropriate resources.

The presentation will also touch on Dane County and Wisconsin stastitics on suicide.

“My hope is that people go away feeling a little more prepared to help someone who they think might be in a situation where they are considering taking their life. They also have more knowledge about suicide – what the myths are and what the reality is,” said Zimmerman.

If you or someone you know is thinking about taking their own life, call the national suicide prevention life line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Contact Mackenzie at mackenzie.krumme@wcinet.com.