The center knew exactly how the money should be spent: hiring a suicide prevention counselor.
“We had always done suicide prevention training, but after the shock and grief of two deaths in the 2009-2010 year, it lit a fire in us,” said Linda Wolszon, the director of counseling and mental health.
Suicide Prevention Outreach Coordinator Cortney Gumbleton has been making a difference on campus since she arrived in 2013. But what most students do not know is that Courtney has a story of her own.
In 2008 Gumbleton’s best friend, Dan, committed suicide.
This tragedy inspired Gumbleton to become involved in suicide prevention. Gumbleton is a TCU graduate, and Wolszon said “hiring Cortney was a no-brainer.”
“She presented a well-researched vision of a comprehensive public health model for prevention, and she was energetic, passionate, engaging, and anyone could tell she would be dynamite for our efforts,” Wolszon said.
One of Gumbleton’s main efforts in suicide prevention is teaching students QPR. The name is intentionally supposed to remind students of CPR to help students understand that making an effort to help prevent suicide can save a life.
QPR stands for question-persuade-refer. These steps are what Wolszon calls “suicide gatekeeper training” and is how the Counseling and Mental Health Center believes students should handle a friend who may be considering suicide.
The center understands that education is crucial to suicide prevention and has provided 100 trainings to students, faculty, staff and parents between 2013 and 2015. More than 90 outreach activities have also been held on the TCU campus.
“We need to keep up the efforts and never let up,” Wolszon said. “Our partnerships with departments all across the campus are critical to spreading the word, and Cortney is a master of building strong partnerships.”
The Counseling and Mental Health Center plans to continue hosting events to help raise awareness about suicide prevention, but there is something that Gumbleton would like students to know: