Wilton Youth Council brought together a group of youth-serving community members on Thursday, Dec. 1 at the quarterly meeting of the Coalition for Youth. The Coalition is a loose-knit consortium of organizations that serve youth and families in Wilton that work together to prevent substance misuse and promote the mental health and emotional well-being of youth and families.

At the Dec. 1 meeting, Coalition members, including representatives from Wilton Public Schools, Wilton Police Department, Wilton Library and Temple B’nai Chaim, received training in QPR, a three-step training program — Question, Persuade, Refer — to help reduce suicide.

Leading the training was Dr. Kelly Holtz, the WPS District Instructional Leader for Health and Physical Education and a teacher at Wilton High School. Holtz holds a doctorate in Health Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Connecticut residents ages 10-34 and the fourth leading cause of death in Connecticut for residents ages 35-54.

Wilton Youth Council brought this training to the Coalition for Youth as a means of helping combat the national mental health pandemic the country is currently facing, according to Coalition member and Wilton Youth Council Board member Deborah List, Ph.D.

“It is essential to have community members from so many different youth-connecting organizations present at this training as a step towards working together to support our youth in Wilton,” List said.

Wilton Youth Council officials said that Wilton Schools Superintendent Dr. Kevin Smith attended the Coalition meeting and that he has long supported QPR training in the district.

For additional information on resources and support for parents and families, contact Wilton Youth Council online.

Contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline if you are experiencing mental health-related distress or are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support. Call or text 988, or chat at 988lifeline.org. Calling 988 will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and connect them with a trained crisis counselor. 988 is confidential, free, and available 24/7/365.