United States

Mental Health First Aid: Looking for Signs of Suicide Risk

Organizations are teaching parents and students how to spot a person in crisis and what to do to help

Marisa Giarnella Porco is a social worker by trade and she knew the signs of crisis, but she and her husband Ernie Porco got the worst phone call a parent could get from her son Jordan’s college - he had taken his own life.

In the years since Jordan’s death, they co-founded the Jordan Porco Foundation in Hartford. The foundation does events all over the United States, to help students cope with the major stress of going away to college.

The signature event they do is called “Fresh Check,” which is aimed at teaching freshman students about mental health resources on campus. For more information on the foundation and its programs, click here.

If you are in crisis, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting "HOME" to 741-741.

Those located in Connecticut can also contact 211.

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Gillian Anderson lost her daughter Abbey when she was just 15. The Trumbull High School freshman took her own life even after she had counseling.

Suicide devastates families and entire communities. But now there are classes parents can take to learn how to spot the signs of a teen is in crisis. Mental Health First aid classes are underway right now at the Mandell Jewish Community Center in West Hartford and they are free. If a mother, father, teacher, or coach can see the signs, they can save a life. The classes continue through May and are sponsored by the Cigna Foundation. Learn more here.

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