Question. Persuade. Refer. Also known as QPR, these three letters (or words) can save lives. Similar in nature to CPR, QPR is a three-step process to help save lives from suicide. The goal of QPR is simple: To save lives and reduce suicidal behaviors by providing innovative, practical and proven suicide prevention training.1
When someone is going through cardiac arrest — or something of similar nature — there is a quick response and someone trained in CPR knows how to respond. QPR has taken this very concept, and essentially re-constructed for suicide prevention. If someone were to notice the warning signs of an immediate suicidal crisis, someone who is trained in QPR would know how to respond, what to do next and how to get the person in crisis to a professional who can actually help them work through their crisis.
Similar to how all individuals should be trained CPR, everybody should be trained in QPR. Why? Everyone has been affected by suicide, whether you know someone personally or have seen it on the news. Suicide is not something that concentrates itself to one particular community, it doesn’t concentrate itself to one type of person — it crosses all barriers and all boundaries.
Research says that for every completed suicide, they leave behind (at minimum) six suicide survivors — people who’ve lost someone they care about deeply and are left with their grief and struggle to understand why it happened.2 Once you have been directly affected by suicide, you are now at risk. That does not mean you are going to have suicidal thoughts, nor does it mean you are going to attempt suicide. But, because you are at risk, it is important to have things in place to make sure you are being take care of appropriately.
This is where QPR can be an effective resource. It is something that everyone should be exposed to, just like CPR. At one point, CPR was not widely known to the public. But, because communities understood and respected its goals, everyone has now heard of CPR. That is the same vision for QPR.
The training itself focuses on how to recognize signs of suicidal behavior, and how to initiate the conversation – most individuals do not know how to approach someone who may be suicidal. The first step is to get people to be comfortable to reach out to those they care about. Eventually, through conversation (question) and persuasion, the goal is to get individuals who are with a mental health issues or suicidal thoughts to seek professional help (refer).
Suicide prevention is everyone’s business. That is one of, if not the main idea that individuals should walk away with when they leave the training. It does not take a certification to help prevent suicide. It does not take years of schooling to help prevent suicide. The more people we have willing and able to be of some assistance in suicide prevention, the better steps we have taken as a society to make sure we are taking care of those who need it most.
To learn more about QPR, visit qprinstitute.com. SMA Healthcare offers a QPR course across its four counties of operation – Flagler, Putnam, St. John’s and Volusia. For more information, visit smahealthcare.org or call our 800-539-4228.