GLENVILLE, WV – Glenville State University students recently took part in training as part of the statewide Green Bandana Initiative. The training focused on “Question, Persuade, Refer” (QPR) for suicide prevention. QPR techniques are easily learned and allow anyone to become familiar with ways to question someone about suicide, persuade them to get help, and refer them to the appropriate resource for help.
The initiative was launched by West Virginia’s Advisory Council of Students (ACS), which comprises student government representatives from each of the state’s public colleges and universities. The West Virginia Green Bandana Initiative, aims to shine a brighter light on student mental health on campuses statewide. Through the initiative, students who complete mental health training this spring will receive a green bandana that, when displayed on their backpacks or elsewhere, signal to other students that they are open to talking and are a source of support.
According to a recent national survey, two-thirds (67 percent) of college students say that they have faced mental or emotional issues over the past 12 months. The same report found that if a student is facing a serious mental health issue, they are most likely to turn first to a peer for support.
“We’ve heard from students on our campus that more mental health resources are very important,” said GSU Student Government Association President, Nic McVaney. “It has been a big topic of discussion at our ACS meetings and, when this opportunity for Glenville State to participate in the Green Bandana Initiative came up, we knew it would be a positive thing. I appreciate those who took part in the first session and hope that more of our Pioneers take part in the upcoming peer training session to learn more about this important topic.”
Through the West Virginia Collegiate Initiative to Advance Healthy Campus Communities, certified trainers are facilitating the training opportunities at many schools around the state. The trainings began in late February and are continuing through the spring semester. On Glenville State’s campus, the training is being organized by campus professional counselor, Tim Underwood.
One training session has already taken place and another is planned later in April.
Through the statewide initiative, hundreds of students have the opportunity to register for the training and increase their knowledge and skills in talking with their peers about mental health. In support of the initiative, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Greater Wheeling received a grant to purchase 2,000 green bandanas to distribute to the 18 participating college campuses.
For more information on West Virginia Green Bandana Initiative, including a list of upcoming training opportunities, visit https://www.wvhepc.edu/west-virginia-advisory-council-of-students/green-bandana-initiative/.
The ACS and its initiatives are supported by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and Community and Technical College System.