Jake’s Hope: Working to save lives

Jake

Jake Steuernagel

Family offers suicide prevention training

Jacob Steuernagel of Lindstrom took his own life last June at age 18.

But his story does not end there. Jake’s family is on a mission to help other families prevent this tragedy.

Through their nonprofit organization, Jake’s Hope,  they are sharing his story to remove the stigma of mental health issues, to raise awareness of suicide, and to provide tools people can use to prevent it.

Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among teenagers. To help people recognize the warning signs and take action, Jake’s Hope offers free training in the QPR technique: Question, Persuade, Refer.

QPR

Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich maneuver help save lives, people trained in QPR may be able to tell when a friend or family member is contemplating suicide, and then know what to ask and what to say.

QPR provides the language for being direct without being confrontational: “Are you feeling so bad that you are thinking about suicide?”

It teaches how to listen carefully and how to refer for help. It also shows what not to do, such as promising secrecy or trying to come up with a solution.

Through Jake’s Hope, free community QPR training by the Suicide Prevention Task Force of St. Croix County was offered at Chisago Lakes High School on Dec. 12. Everyone in seventh grade and up was invited to learn to “ask a question and save a life.”

Now the class is coming to Forest Lake, at Maranatha Assembly of God, 24799 Forest Blvd. from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 20.

Those attending the class will be more alert to risk factors for suicide, including mental disorders, substance abuse, hopelessness, physical illness, loss of relationship or job, lack of social support and exposure to others who have died by suicide.

Fishing contest

To support Jake’s Hope while having some winter fun, come ice fishing on Saturday, Feb. 8 at North Center Lake in Center City.

Jacob’s fishing buddies and other friends from the Lindstrom area will be on the lake selling food and raffle tickets, manning the heated tents and raising awareness of mental health issues.

Local ice fishing vendors are predrilling holes and helping to orchestrate the day’s activities. Area retailers have donated TV sets, bikes, electronic fishing aids and Nintendo games as prizes.

The kids’ contest, for ages 12 and under, will be held from 11 to 11:45 a.m. Registration is $15. The adult contest will run from noon to 3 p.m. and costs $20. Register at www.jakeshope1994.com.

The North Center Lake landing is in Center City at the intersection of Highway 8 and County Road 9, next to Chisago Lakes Middle School.

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