Chabad at UT Offers Suicide Alert Workshop | Shalom Austin

Chabad at UT Offers Suicide Alert Workshop

The Jewish Outlook

Nov 5, 2020

Student board member and safeTALK Ambassador Alex Meltzer strategizes with Rabbi Zev Johnson in a sukkah. Credit: Ariela Johnson

By Ella Steinmetz

The world’s challenging climate under lockdown has sparked a sharp increase in mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and suicidal behavior. Many people, especially teens and young adults, are at a loss, wondering how they can help their friends and themselves during these trying times. To combat this crisis, the Rohr Chabad Jewish Student Center at the University of Texas, in partnership with Gelt Charitable Foundation, offered a free, evidence-based suicide prevention and mental health awareness workshop over Zoom Oct. 19.

“Suicide has become a prevalent issue in our communities in recent years, and has been further exasperated by this crisis,” shared Jack Miller, founder of the Gelt Charitable Foundation. “Suicide prevention education is crucial for our safety and well-being, and for the well-being of the people we care about.”

The workshop, taught by Leigh Ioffe, a certified safeTALK trainer, and mental health advocate, equipped participants with hands-on tools, knowledge and awareness to assist persons who may struggle with thoughts of suicide during this unprecedented crisis.

“It is crucial that our community come together to get trained and learn to recognize the signs of suicide,” shared Rabbi Zev Johnson, director of the Chabad Student Center at UT. “One hour in exchange for life-changing skills is one powerful step we all can and should take to create a safer, healthier community.” 

The Chabad Student Center at UT is grateful to the Gelt Charitable Foundation’s generous sponsorship for making this lifesaving workshop possible as well as to those on the student board: Alex Meltzer, Ben Levkovich, Gaby Souferian, Jacob Fridakis, Jacob Yarvis, Louis Cohen and Rachel Kallman. ■

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