Thrive Counseling Center has been selected as a finalist in State Farm’s Neighborhood Assist grant competition, in which 40 causes each will receive $25,000 awarded by popular vote.

Thrive’s proposal to provide suicide prevention training to hundreds of community members was chosen as a Top 200 finalist from over 2,000 grant applicants nationwide. Finalists will compete in online voting between August 15-24.

Thrive’s link to State Farm’s online voting site is:

Suicide deaths are on the rise nationally and locally, with an average of six deaths each year in Oak Park and River Forest. An estimated four Illinois residents die by suicide every day. Suicide touches all age groups, but rates are highest among those 45- to 64-years-old. The Thrive grant offers an opportunity to train ordinary residents to recognize when someone may be at risk for suicide, and to link them to life-saving resources.

“Suicide is a health crisis in our community,” said John Meister, Thrive President and Executive Director. “We’re asking for votes–10 times a day, every day, for 10 days–to ensure our cause is a winner. The Neighborhood Assist grant will further Thrive’s objective to offer everyone who lives or works in our community to get training that can help save a life.”

Any U.S. resident 18 years and older can vote up to 10 times per day, using social media including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Snapchat, Linkedin, and YouTube. Winners of the State Farm Neighborhood Assist grants will be announced Sept. 25. 

Thrive proposes to use grant funds to train 10 staff members to lead safeTALK suicide alertness workshops, and to fund community education. safeTALK is an evidence-based training that offers suicide prevention tools that anyone can use. safeTALK workshops will be offered to first responders, clergy, teachers, parents, and ordinary residents, age 15 and up. A network of expert trainers will enable Thrive to develop a safety net that will empower and protect residents for years to come.

Thrive launched the training initiative in July, providing alertness and prevention training to first responders in River Forest. The State Farm grant will accelerate plans to offer community-wide training. Thrive operates a 24/7 crisis line at 708-383-7500.

safeTALK training focuses on the TALK steps: Tell, Ask, Listen, KeepSafe. It provides tools to connect those who are at-risk for suicide with health care professionals, first responders, or crisis intervention staff. safeTALK was developed by LivingWorks, and has been completed by more than 500,000 people internationally since 2006.

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