NDSU nursing students participate in SafeSide Training to aid in suicide prevention

While the end of the year can be joy-filled, for some people it can also include challenges ranging from financial to grief or other stressors. More than 90 NDSU nursing and other students in health-related fields participated in SafeSide Training during the fall semester through a Mental Health Nursing course called psychosocial nursing, learning how to help patients who may be experiencing significant stressors. The nursing course is taught by Dr. Becky McDaniel while the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provides SafeSide Training.

Help is available if you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health matters. In the U.S., call or text 988, the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

Undergraduate students from NDSU’s Bismarck and Fargo sites, as well as online LPN to BSN students, participated in three online interactive sessions in a program designed to prevent suicide, assess patients who are suicidal, and support them.

photo of woman talking with teen and the quote 'I know it can be hard to talk about.'

“I believe the SafeSide Training wasn't just beneficial for nursing students, but would also really benefit everyone in general,” said one NDSU student who participated in the course and the SafeSide Training. “It offered me a safe environment to engage in conversations about suicide and mental health problems, allowing me to become more at ease with my ability to intervene positively and suitably when working with individuals facing challenges.”

During their training, students worked through a map of best practices in suicide prevention with the SafeSide Framework for Recovery-Oriented Suicide Prevention. They had opportunities to work together in discussion groups to apply skills learned in the workshop. The training doesn’t stop there. Students also have access to suicide prevention resources and follow-up contacts with additional resources.

“I really enjoyed how interactive the training was,” said one student who participated in the program. “I thought the content was very applicable not only to working as a healthcare professional, but also in day-to-day interactions. It was helpful to discuss these scenarios with peers and elaborate on each other’s ideas.”

photo of woman listing some risk factors in suicide listing family history and prior hospitalization

The training focuses on assessment and communication with suicidal patients. Upon completion, students received a certificate or had the option of earning continuing education units. The program is funded through a behavioral health grant awarded to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

McDaniel’s commitment to mental health nursing includes participating in the Out of the Darkness Walk to End Suicide with students and volunteering with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Her research titled Experiences With Suicide Loss: A Qualitative Study is published in Sage Journals.

The NDSU School of Nursing and NDSU Counseling Center previously received Lifesaver Community Awards for their efforts to implement training on the issue of suicide prevention.

“It’s an honor to provide opportunities for nursing students to learn about suicide prevention and provide training to help them in their future careers caring for patients,” said McDaniel.

McDaniel coordinated access to the SafeSide Training with Samantha Chrisopherson, executive director of the North Dakota and South Dakota chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 

NDSU School of Nursing offers multiple in-person and online paths for those who want to pursue or advance their nursing careers through programs that include:  Pre-Licensure BSN, Accelerated BSN, online RN to BSN, online blended LPN to BSN, and DNP/Family Nurse Practitioner degrees.

As a student focused, land grant, research institution, we serve our citizens.

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