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Perry Strong Works to Prevent Student Suicides in Stark County

Bill Hanna
Perry Strong
Bill Hanna founded Perry Strong, a support group for students, in response to youth suicides in Stark County.

A student support group in Stark County called Perry Strong is hosting a free suicide prevention training at Stark State College.

The group formed in response to the number of youth suicides in the area. Last year 70 people died by suicide in Stark County, according to the Stark County Coroner’s Office.

At the training, a college counselor will use a technique called QPR, which stands for question, persuade and refer. Perry Strong is encouraging faculty, students and parents of high school and middle school students to attend.

Perry Strong President Bill Hanna said the goal of the event is to teach individuals the basics of how to approach and handle a person who has a problem or is struggling.

“What we found just in the short time of seven months is even with the victim’s parents, they didn’t know what to look for. They didn’t know what questions to ask,” he said.

The training is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday in Room M101 at Stark State's Gateway Center.

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of death or suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It provides free and confidential support for people in crisis. The Crisis Text Line is also available 24/7 by texting "HOME" to 741741. If there is immediate danger, call 911.