Ivy Tech Community College has received a contribution for a suicide prevention and intervention program from a Columbus North High School senior who organized a run/walk event in memory of her brother.
Chris Schilling, Ivy Tech spokesman, says that Lauren Frederick donated the proceeds from Scotty’s Mile, a one-mile run/walk on July 20, to the Hope Squad, a peer-to-peer program designed to train students how to provide outreach to students in distress with a direct connection to the local mental health system.
Schilling says that Frederick’s brother, Scotty, passed away from suicide at the age of 23 in December of 2010. Frederick was in the fifth grade at the time. Her family held a one-mile run/walk to raise money for suicide awareness and prevention two years ago in memory of Scotty. Frederick organized the event again this year as part of her high school senior project.
“For me and my family, this event is a really good way to make something positive out of this situation and remember Scotty,” Frederick said.
More than 100 people participated in Scotty’s Mile this year. The family hopes to make Scotty’s Mile an annual event.
Ivy Tech is developing the Hope Squad in partnership with IUPUC and community stakeholder support through a grant from Heritage Fund – The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County to teach Ivy Tech Columbus and IUPUC students how to intervene in and prevent possible suicidal threats by peers.
“We are so grateful to Lauren and her family for their thoughtful and kind donation to the Hope Squad as we work with IUPUC and our community stakeholders to develop this imperative program,” said Therese Copeland, Ivy Tech Executive Director of Resource Development. “We believe the Hope Squad will prepare our students and our community to gracefully and effectively intervene and prevent tragic loss of life.”
Organizers say that members of the Hope Squad work together with college counseling staff and mentor advisors who assist in triaging to emergency operations or mental health as appropriate. Additionally, Ivy Tech will be using suicide gatekeeper training in the community and at the college to provide skills and knowledge about suicide risk factors, how to respond to someone in distress, and how to assist them in seeking help.
The program will begin this fall with the start of the 2017 academic year. Schilling says that the Hope Squad is in the process of planning events for Suicide Prevention Week, starting on Monday, September 11.