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University of Arkansas Little Rock student receives grant to help fund suicide prevention programs in Arkansas jails

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Little Rock, Arkansas – A University of Arkansas Little Rock student wrote a grant to help implement suicide prevention programs in Arkansas jails. “Corrections staff inmates, etc. They are all very high risk for suicide, and they are also very underrepresented,” said a graduate student at UA Little Rock, Kristina Johnson.

She was in a grant writing class at UA Little Rock, where she partnered with the Arkansas chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

“Recognizing the lack of compassion that is offered to people in the correctional community/population, really spoke to something deep in me where I wanted to help,” said Johnson.

While doing research for the grant, she found some staggering statistics. “Inmate suicide has quadrupled from I think an average of 3 per year to 11 in 2019,” stated Johnson, regarding Arkansas statistics.

For correctional officers, “the national rate is 39% higher than that of any other professions combined,” stated Johnson.

In order to help fund a pilot program in two Arkansas jails, Pulaski and Garland County Correctional Facilities, the grant received $10,000. “To create an environment and an opportunity for them to offer suicide prevention awareness and just to teach, primarily starting out with the staff, what they need to know about suicide,” said Johnson.

Johnson used her skill of writing to create unexpected change. “It has shown me that I can use what I have in my strengths to help people and to change lives, and to save lives potentially,” stated Johnson.

According to Johnson, the Arkansas AFSP chapter will host an “Out of the Darkness Community Walk” Oct, 23 in Little Rock.

 

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