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Local #ZRW hosts Crisis Orientation exercise for teenagers

When about 70 teenagers recently participated in an exercise called “Crisis Orientation,” several scenarios were outlined at the beginning.

These included:

• Your friend sees a hate comment on an uploaded video.

• Your significant other says they will kill themselves if you leave them.

• Your friend shows you cuts on their arms and asks you not to tell anyone.

• Your friend tells you they don’t get the point of trying anymore.

#Zero Reasons Why of Central Kansas recently hosted this exercise, which was open to local and area school districts by Zoom. #ZRW is a teen-led suicide prevention program that is sponsored locally by The Center for Counseling & Consultation, 5815 Broadway.

“This program empowers teenagers to gain some insight into how to help a family member or friend,” said Holly Bowyer, The Center’s teen liaison for #ZRW. “While there are no hard and fast rules for helping someone who is struggling, Crisis Orientation offers guidelines and ideas about possible actions to take – or not take.”

Possibilities for action on behalf of someone in crisis include: checking in on the person; contacting a trusted adult, school counselor or parents; and calling a crisis hotline.

“We understand this process can be scary,” Bowyer noted. “It is quite understandable if you are nervous and have a fear of the unknown. But you can intervene because you care.

“It also is important to understand what you should NOT do,” Bowyer continued. “When someone is struggling with suicidal tendencies, you shouldn’t ignore their comments; keep it to yourself; leave the person alone; or joke around about the situation.”

Crisis Orientation is offered to teenagers at least once during a school year. Hoisington, Ellinwood, Stafford and Chase school districts were represented at the recent exercise.

Other local and area school districts involved in #ZRW are Great Bend, Central Plains, Lyons, Larned, Pawnee Heights and Sterling.

Most of these school districts are actively involved in #ZRW on a regular basis.

“You can see the students’ excitement as they plan activities for their peers,” Bowyer commented. “Many wonderful things are happening in our schools and communities. We get many positive comments about #Zero Reasons Why activities, including Crisis Orientation.”

Those who want to seek help immediately have several 24/7 options. They may contact The Center by calling 620-792-2544 or its crisis hotline number, 1-800-875-2544. Other options are the new nationwide 988 number, and 1-800-273-8255, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, as well as texting 741741.

The Center for Counseling & Consultation is a Community Mental Health Center serving Barton, Pawnee, Rice and Stafford counties. Professionally trained personnel offer: individual and group therapy; marriage and family counseling; community-support services; community-based services; psychosocial rehabilitation; peer support; and medication management. The confidential 24/7 crisis hotline number is 800-875-2544.