SPOTLIGHT: safeTALK – Training to Prevent Suicide in Agricultural Communities

SPOTLIGHT: safeTALK – Training to Prevent Suicide in Agricultural Communities


A friend in need is a friend indeed.
Old Proverb

A friend is there to help when times are tough.  Unfortunately, times are tough right now in agriculture.  Depression, anxiety and suicide are products of the economic downturn. Being a good friend is important now more than ever with our rural neighbors.

Fortunately there are opportunities to help those who may be struggling mentally and emotionally.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is offering six suicide prevention workshops in the fall of 2019 across Minnesota. safeTALK is a 4 hour course designed to help you help others.  Read more about the course and how to register to truly be a friend indeed.

Shared with permission from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

safeTALK – Preventing Suicide in Agricultural Communities

Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Four short hours that can save a life.

When a neighbor’s tractor gets stuck, you don’t hesitate to help. But when you see a family member, friend, or client stuck in a rut—and possibly suicidal—it can be daunting to try and help and can leave you feeling powerless.

Suicide is a significant public health issue in Minnesota. It involves the tragic loss of human life and causes agonizing grief, fear, and confusion in families and communities. The impact can even extend across generations.

This training teaches in-depth skills you can learn in half a day. You’ll learn how to recognize someone having thoughts of suicide, how to engage them, and how to make sure they get help. This evidence-based training is effective for people as young as 15. All six sessions will include a unit specially designed to address stigma associated with suicide and mental illness among farmers and farm workers.


Who Should Attend

Farmers, lenders, mediators, agency staff, clergy, educators, veterinarians, healthcare and social service providers, and agricultural advisers and business people.

This training is free. Pre-registration is required. Enrollment is limited to 30.



2019 DATES

Sessions run from 8:30am-12:30pm

October 10, Thief River Falls, Northland C&T College

October 11, Moorhead, M-State

November 20, Faribault, South Central College

November 21, Austin, Riverland Community College

December 3, Marshall, MERIT Center

December 4, Waite Park, Quarry Center


This training challenges attitudes that inhibit open talk about suicide and will teach you to:

  • Recognize a person who might be having thoughts of suicide
  • Learn how to address stigma associated with suicide and mental illness.
  • Engage people at risk of suicide in direct and open talk about it.
  • Listen to their feelings about suicide to show that they are taken seriously.
  • Move quickly to connect the at-risk with someone trained in suicide intervention


About the Instructor

Chaplain (Colonel-Retired) Glen Bloomstrom is the Military Representative and Faith Community Liaison for LivingWorks Education, an international suicide intervention training company. He is also an adjunct professor at Bethlehem Seminary in Minneapolis. Glen served on active duty as a US Army chaplain for 30 years. His expertise includes suicide prevention, pastoral counseling, and military deployment. He is a member of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and serves on the Faith Communities Task Force.



I’ve been to a QPR suicide prevention workshop. Should I attend safeTalk?

QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer), is an introductory-level training that increases awareness about suicide. safeTALK is a more indepth and comprehensive training that offers both education and experiential learning. safeTALK also addresses the stigma issues related to suicide and mental health. (If you are interested in QPR, contact NAMI Minnesota, which is offering the program in rural communities.)

Are CEUs available?

We will provide you with a certificate of attendance, which you can use to self-certify with your licensing board or organization.

Who do I contact about disability accommodation?

Individuals with a disability who need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this event please contact  Stephen Moser at 651-201-6012 or through the Minnesota Relay Service TTY at 711 at least one week prior to the session you want to attend.



This workshop is supported by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2018-38640-28416 through the North Central Region SARE program under project number ENC18-170. The State of Minnesota and USDA are equal opportunity employers and service providers. The opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this workshop do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.