Imagine you are walking down the street and a stranger collapses and needs CPR. You are CPR certified and so you are quick to act and assess the situation. The police and ambulance arrive and say that without your help, the individual would have died. Upon leaving the scene, you notice a small crowd has gathered that was untrained in CPR and in shock, stopped to watch the situation. Consider which person you would rather be: the individual who knows CPR or someone on the sidelines standing helplessly watching? It is likely, that you would, at the very least, want to be CPR certified to prevent bad things from happening to others.
Clearly, we are quick to act in times of physical need and distress to a perfect stranger. We are even more willing and able to help others when we are properly certified. However, what about mental trainings that could be used to save someone’s life? Is there such a thing as CPR for those who are having suicidal thoughts or other mental challenges? Luckily, yes, there is such a thing - QPR.
QPR stands for question, persuade, and refer. This strategy can be learned in a community near you and is lifesaving. If you suspect someone is suicidal, question them, persuade them to get help and then refer them to the appropriate resource. In the curriculum, ways to handle the conversation are discussed. Examples of topics include: overcoming emotional reactions to suicide, when to use QPR, about mental illnesses, warning signs of suicide, and resources available. Becoming QPR certified may be a way for you to help save a life in a way you were previously incapable of.
It is likely that even after you are QPR certified that a perfect stranger may never approach you and say directly, “I’m going to need help, I’m going to commit suicide.” Instead, it is likely this training will be used to help your friends, family, or co-workers. Becoming educated on the topic of suicide, suicide prevention, and resources available creates a more open line of communication between you and others about their personal struggles and needs. With this in mind, it is important to remember that with QPR comes certification and that does not mean that in any way are you a trained therapist. The aim of QPR is to simply seek out help for those who need resources and encouragement from others.
The topic of suicide or self-harm must always be taken seriously - no matter what our predisposed opinions of others are. If we spend too much time judging others then we will miss time to refer them to the help that they may need. Hope4Utah is a resource that seeks to educate peers on suicide warning signs and steps to take if someone is suicidal. In schools and other organizations, the program aims to lower suicide rates by educating and empowering others to act appropriately should a circumstance arise.
Just like CPR training, you’ll never know when QPR may come in handy. Look up local classes to become certified in QPR today!by
By Greg Hudnall & Paula Dudley
For resources on suicide prevention and QPR trainings, please visit the following: