Original airdate October 23, 2018.
JacQuan Winters: And then, I read an article a few weeks ago. It said-
B.J. Guenther: I bet you’re always reading articles.
JacQuan Winters: Yeah I’m always reading.
B.J. Guenther: For the foundation too.
JacQuan Winters: I love reading too, my favorite are children’s books. I’m weird like that, but I read an article. I can’t remember the title, but it was something like “Find The Pumpkin Pie” And so with that, that was a weird title for something about suicide.
JacQuan Winters: So this young man, he spoke about his mom, who died by suicide. But, she had always been suicidal since he was a kid. She would call and say, “Well, I just can’t do it anymore, I’m gonna take my life.” He said he found the pumpkin pie, and what that meant was. He said, “Well, Mom, how many eggs goes into the pie?” And she just got quiet and said, “I don’t know, but let me check and I’ll get back with you next week.” And he said, “So I can expect to talk to you next week?” And she went, “Yeah.” So, you know, giving him a sense of-
B.J. Guenther: A future.
JacQuan Winters: Right, something to do-
B.J. Guenther: Future oriented.
JacQuan Winters: Or, the ingredients of a pumpkin pie. That’s crazy that it saved her life for so long. That was a unique way of doing things.
B.J. Guenther: Toddling that article through.
JacQuan Winters: And Mary is the one that actually sent it to me.
B.J. Guenther: Mary Turner?
JacQuan Winters: Yeah, Mary Turner, right.
B.J. Guenther: Mary Turner is an attorney here in town, and she’s been on the show before.
JacQuan Winters: I just love Mary.
B.J. Guenther: Yeah, she’s great. She leads, and she has for years. She leads a group.
JacQuan Winters: Survivors of suicide.
B.J. Guenther: SOS, Survivors of Suicide. Now when does that group meet?
JacQuan Winters: They meet on the second Thursdays in the month.
B.J. Guenther: Anybody in the community can go, cause I’ve had students go to that group, but, they were maybe, there’s only a few students who go, cause there’s other people in the community. Cause anybody can go.
JacQuan Winters: And I’ve been before, like most people. When Kristen passed, I didn’t necessarily go to a counselor. Going to [inaudible 00:01:57] group was one of my outlets.
B.J. Guenther: It was therapeutic.
JacQuan Winters: People have different ways that they cope.
B.J. Guenther: I think we’re gonna try to take a break right now, and take a breather for just a minute. Let me check the emails. If you wanna send us an email, email those questions to email@example.com But we’ll take a break right now, you’re listening to Brain Matters on 90.7 The Capstone.
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B.J. Guenther: Hey, you’re back listening to Brain Matters on 90.7 The Capstone, I’m B.J. Guenther, my guest tonight is JacQuan Winters. He is the founder of the Kristen Amerson Youth Foundation which is a suicide prevention program in memorial to his 11-year old sister who killed herself. When was it? 2016?
JacQuan Winters: It was April 10th, 2014.
B.J. Guenther: 2014. How are your parents doing?
JacQuan Winters: They’re great.
B.J. Guenther: They’re doing okay.
JacQuan Winters: I said that, but my mom has always been a strong person. She’s been through a lot, like I mentioned earlier. Just some horrible things that happened to her, and Kristen witnessed it and had to testify against the man cause- that’s trauma. My mom has always been strong, so, she’s doing good. Her dad is doing good. He always helps out with the foundation.
B.J. Guenther: I was gonna ask did they participate in the foundation at all. Do they present in the community?
JacQuan Winters: Well Kristen’s dad is-
B.J. Guenther: Or talk about it publicly?
JacQuan Winters: They haven’t, but Kristen’s dad lives in Indiana. My mom is here in Tuscaloosa, but they haven’t just spoke up, well, spoke up with the foundation, They’re more than welcome, but they kind of leave it to me. I’m like the pretty face and –
B.J. Guenther: It’s a good thing this is radio, right? We mentioned- someone emailed in a question about high schools and middle schools and elementary schools. What is the difference, how is suicide prevention programs, how are they designed for middle school age students? How does that differ from a prevention program for college students?
JacQuan Winters: Okay, great. So, with college students, of course you’re dealing with young adults. That’s what they are. Young adults, and it’s not so many hoops and hurdles you have to go through to talk to them. They know what to expect, they know what suicide is. At least I would expect that they know, but they wouldn’t know the warning signs. So, in similarity, all programs are educational. In difference, it’s just the population that you’re speaking with. The audience.
JacQuan Winters: You can be more direct with college students, whereas you go to speak a middle school student, or even elementary. You probably wouldn’t use the word suicide, because they probably wouldn’t be able to understand what it is. You have to, in layman’s terms. Self harm, or something of that nature.
JacQuan Winters: With middle school, it’s all about, like I said, education. Educating. But you have to jump through those hoops and hurdles with administrators. You have to jump through the hoops and hurdles with parents, because parents don’t want their kids being exposed to that kind of stuff, which, like I said, we’re working it. Fight against that, because I feel like the more kids that are educated, the better chance that we have to save children. By the same thing with college students, or the elderly. By educating and teaching them those warning signs, and teaching them, “this his how suicide looks, and if someone comes to you that’s suicidal, this is how you intervene.”
JacQuan Winters: I know that here at the UA, you all do the QPR trainings.
B.J. Guenther: We do, I’m gonna make an announcement. Sometimes I’ll make announcements at the end of the show about QPR training, or Ask, Listen, Refer. Those are two ongoing- we do that kind of training all the time.
JacQuan Winters: I haven’t heard of the Ask, Listen, Refer.
B.J. Guenther: Well listen to my promotion at the end of the show.
JacQuan Winters: I’m actually in the process of being certified as an instructor for QPR.
B.J. Guenther: That’s good, cause I can remember a time where we only had one person who was certified. The demand is pretty high during the school year for those presentations, to be honest with you.
B.J. Guenther: When Kristen, when your sister, passed away. Do you know what was done to help her classmates?
JacQuan Winters: Yes I do. The beauty of our program- I try to do everything that’s symbol, from writing a book, from the colors that we have in our logo, the actual logo, to the schools that we work with. Last semester we worked with Eastwood Middle School, which is the school Kristen attended. She was a 6th grade student there. And we conducted our pilot program with the elementary school- I’m sorry the middle school students, 7th grader. And the counselor, who was actually my teacher back when I was in school, she’s a counselor now. She’s no longer in Tuscaloosa, but she sat me down, because, before the program ended she wanted to talk to me about Kristen. Just what she remember about Kristen, and she spoke about how happy Kristen was, and that this young chocolate girl would come and hug her at the end of school every day. She did not know who she was, then she kinda started to get to know Kristen, cause the counselors, they have different [inaudible 00:10:29], more than one, but she didn’t know Kristen.
JacQuan Winters: She just knew she was a happy kid, that just always-
B.J. Guenther: Loving.
JacQuan Winters: And when she found out- she remembered the day she found out that Kristen passed. She walked into the school, the superintendent was there. They had other people from the central office, and everyone was just sad.
B.J. Guenther: Yes.
JacQuan Winters: She didn’t know what was wrong, she thought a teacher had passed, or something of that nature. And when they told her Kristen passed, it got harder. Kids, they were…
B.J. Guenther: Upset. Shocked.
JacQuan Winters: Right.
B.J. Guenther: Didn’t know how to react.
JacQuan Winters: Falling over in tears. They had to bring counselors in from other schools. That’s part of their procedure if something like that happens in the system. They pull counselors to make sure you have enough counselors at that school for every kid that wants to talk about what they’re going through.
B.J. Guenther: Did they do that ongoing?
JacQuan Winters: I’m not sure-
B.J. Guenther: For the months after it happened.
JacQuan Winters: I would assume so. I’m not sure, I don’t have an answer for that, but I do know they also involved counselors from within the community as well for the teachers, and for the counselors. Because Ms. Schneider, she had to talk to somebody because it just impacted her so heavily. So, that’s one thing that I know they did, but anytime that something like that happens, the Director of Social Work, and the Principal go out to the family’s home, and they’re there as moral support. I don’t know if it was ongoing, but that’s a good question, so I’m gonna write that down to ask.
B.J. Guenther: Write that done. Tell us before we close here, tell us a little bit- can people make a donation to your foundation?
JacQuan Winters: Of course.
B.J. Guenther: How do you do that?
JacQuan Winters: Well you can go directly to our website, kristenamersonyouth, and that’s kristenamersonyouth.org, and it’s a donor’s button that you can donate. People donate through Facebook, that’s a longer process, though. If you want to donate directly to the foundation, you can-
B.J. Guenther: It’s easier to do it that way, through the website.
JacQuan Winters: Or write in a check.
B.J. Guenther: What about any other upcoming presentations that you have? Do you have any?
JacQuan Winters: You have great timing, so yesterday we had 23 volunteers go and read Kristen’s Rainy Day, which is the book that I wrote about Kristen, and to teach children to remain positive, and [inaudible 00:13:07] positivity.
JacQuan Winters: They went and read that book to every classroom within Arcadia Elementary, and that’s the elementary school that Kristen attended before she passed. Her fifth grade teacher actually walked up to me and said- she taught me in middle school, but she said “I was your sister’s fifth grade teacher, and when I saw the book, I said wow this sounds familiar.” And she saw me, and we just talked. But that was one initiative that we did yesterday, we also need more volunteers to go out to other schools, cause-
B.J. Guenther: Yeah, cause how many classrooms was that?
JacQuan Winters: I think it was-
B.J. Guenther: Oh my goodness.
JacQuan Winters: I think we had volunteers for each class, so it was around 23 to 26 classrooms. The school actually bought 26 books for each classroom, and their library. And so, that money will go right back to the foundation so we can help service the community and our youth, and tomorrow I’m speaking to Arcadia Again. I’m doing a presentation with third, fourth, and fifth graders about bullying, and on Thursday I’m speaking to Northridge Middle School about bullying, with the complete school, and that’s around 820 students.
B.J. Guenther: Okay, so like in a general keynote speaker kind of?
JacQuan Winters: Yeah, but we’re gonna do it in breakout sessions, because we’re gonna rotate the kids [inaudible 00:14:31], and so I’m always big about making a more personable impact. Having the kids there, and having them ask questions and such and being able to-
B.J. Guenther: More interactive.
JacQuan Winters: Right, so then we also have, well, we had the America Foundation for Suicide did the Out of the Darkness [inaudible 00:14:51] counseling center, but they have those around Alabama, so we participated in those as well.
B.J. Guenther: And we’ll have another one of those in the spring here.
JacQuan Winters: Really?
B.J. Guenther: Yeah, we usually have two a year. We usually have one in the fall and we’ll have another one in the spring as far as I know.
JacQuan Winters: I’m participating-
B.J. Guenther: So FYI.
JacQuan Winters: I’m participating in that, and we just-
B.J. Guenther: It’s always a really big turnout.
JacQuan Winters: Yeah, and I love it, I love any kind of people can come together to do the work of suicide prevention, my team and I we just recently met about some initiatives that we’re gonna do in 2019. So, we met, had a plan to meet, and I’m gonna present it to my board on Thursday, and they’re gonna approve because my board just loves me, fingers crossed.
B.J. Guenther: Do they ever not approve anything really?
JacQuan Winters: Yes.
B.J. Guenther: They do?
JacQuan Winters: They actually have told me that I have-
B.J. Guenther: A true foundation, JacQuan.
JacQuan Winters: Yeah, well I have to have some type of balance, I guess, and I love ’em because it’s not like they’re just gonna shoot anything down that’s beneficial for the foundation and the community, but they do give me different like-
B.J. Guenther: Direction, that’s what they’re for.
JacQuan Winters: Right, yeah, because we have good people with different expertise in this arena. Nonprofits, education, accounting.
B.J. Guenther: Law.
JacQuan Winters: Right, so they say “Hey, JacQuan, we think that’s too much money, let’s wait on that, let’s not spend that right now.” But they did allow me to spend the money on the QPR training, and all of our money typically goes right back into the foundation to service our kids.
B.J. Guenther: Cause it takes a lot.
JacQuan Winters: It does. So we would love your donations, you can go and buy copies of the book-
B.J. Guenther: Or just get in touch with JacQuan.
JacQuan Winters: Right, and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
B.J. Guenther: Cause I totally messed and misspelled your name, I’m so sorry when I emailed you, I was like , “Oh, I hate it when people do that!”
JacQuan Winters: I’m also on Facebook as well.
B.J. Guenther: Well there you go.
JacQuan Winters: The foundation is as well, and Instagram, and Twitter.
B.J. Guenther: You got it all covered.
JacQuan Winters: Yeah, you can find us. If-
B.J. Guenther: These days you have to do that.
JacQuan Winters: Right, if you’re really looking, you can find us.
B.J. Guenther: Thank you for being on the show.
JacQuan Winters: I thank you all for having me, I had so much fun.
B.J. Guenther: I told you it would go by fast.
JacQuan Winters: I hope I didn’t talk too much.
B.J. Guenther: It does, look, on this show, you can’t talk too fast. I’ll have to just cut you off, intervene, but thank you again for being on the show.
JacQuan Winters: Thank you.
B.J. Guenther: Let me make a few announcements, don’t forget our shows are recorded and podcasted in their own audioboom.com, just type in Brain Matters and you’ll find some of our past shows. There’s also a link on the counseling center’s website to Audioboom, and it’s counseling.ua.edu.
B.J. Guenther: JacQuan and I were talking about the QPR training, but we also provide Ask, Listen, and Refer as a suicide prevention training, designed to help faculty, staff, and students prevent suicide by teaching you to identify people at risk for suicide. Recognize the risk factors, protective factors, and warning signs of suicide, and respond to and get help for people at risk. ALR training takes about 20 minutes to complete and can be found on the counseling center website at asklistenrefer.org/ua. As always, I wanna thank a few people who’ve made the show possible tonight. Doctor Lee Keyes is our executive director at the counseling. Terry Siggers at the office of student media, my production assistants Katherine Howell and Lizzie Zeman, and my colleagues at the counseling center of the WVUA staff, and of course my guest tonight JacQuan Winters.
B.J. Guenther: Join us next week for another show where the topic is going to be about OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and my guest is a freelance write, she has written many articles for several national newspapers and publications, and she’s also a UA graduate, so that should be very interesting. Join us, like I said, next week. Thanks again tonight for listening to Brain Matters on 90.7 The Capstone. Goodnight.