Suicide is a relevant topic.

It's the third leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many other young people attempt suicide, but do not succeed.

Suicide can be prevented.

LUK, a social service agency in central Massachusetts, provides training for a broad range of people to help prevent youth suicide.

LUK will hold free trainings in Townsend and Pepperell in November and December.

"It's open to everyone," said Amanda Landry, public relations specialist at LUK.

Attendees in previous workshops are a diverse group. They range from people who have been touched by suicide, people who work with teens and teenagers, she said.

The training helps people of all ages identify a suicide crisis and provides tools to help.

Staff members Linda Hammil and Tom Noonan give the program, usually once a month, at different locations. They are both QPR certified Gatekeeper instructors

The presentation lasts about an hour and is followed by a discussion.

"It's a heavy topic," Landry said. Participants may share their own experiences or ask where they can find resources to help a child or a survivor.

LUK provides a handout and a certificate of completion for each participant.

The QPR Suicide Prevention Program teaches participants to become gatekeepers. Attendees learn how to question someone about suicide, persuade someone to get help and refer the individual to the appropriate resources.


Gatekeepers can be friends or relatives, medical or public-safety personnel and anyone else who is in a position to identify others at risk of suicide.

LUK, a social service agency located in cities and towns throughout central Massachusetts, is dedicated to improving the lives of youths and their families. It was founded as Let Us Know Crisis Center in 1970 in Fitchburg and operated a hotline for those seeking help with substance abuse.

The trainings are funded in part by a grant from the Nashoba Valley Community Healthcare fund, the Greater Lowell Community Foundation and the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts.

Training was held at the Townsend Public Library Nov. 16 and will be held at Lawrence Library in Pepperell on Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m. Only one session is required to earn a certificate of completion.

"I would encourage everyone to attend," Landry said. "It's a free event."

Registration is not required.