Question - Persuade - Refer
The Mental Health Board in partnership with the McHenry County Community Foundation and the Behavioral Health Foundation, is bringing QPR Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention to McHenry County.
Do you know that suicide in McHenry County is a serious concern?
Do you know what you can do to make a difference?
Across the country approximately 40,000 individuals die each year from suicide. That is one person every 13 minutes. Over the past decade, the rate of suicide in adults ages 35 to 64 increased by more than 28 percent. It is the third leading cause of death in teens ages 15 to 24.
In McHenry County, suicides took the lives of 41 residents in 2010, 40 in 2012, 31 in 2013, and 33 in 2014. According to the results of McHenry County’s 2014 Healthy Community Study, one in twenty respondents to a survey said they had thought about suicide. Studies show that there are more than 25 attempted suicides for each suicide death.
Death by suicide is a national problem. It touches all ages and backgrounds. Mental health professionals agree that people who think about taking their own lives feel trapped by what they perceive as a hopeless situation, feel cut off by life and friendships, and they want to end what they perceive as unbearable pain. The causes are complex and the pain is real, and regardless of the often unanswerable "why," most suicides leave behind people who suffer intense grief.
What can anyone do to help? Fortunately, strong evidence shows that a comprehensive public health approach is effective in reducing suicide rates. QPR—Question, Persuade, and Refer—is an evidence based practice that, just like CPR, is an emergency response to someone in crisis. Just like CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver trainings that save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn to identify and respond to a suicide crisis.
Who should take QPR training? School staff, first responders, faith communities, public officials, staff of parks and recreation, nursing home facilities, human resources; anyone who works with people, regardless of their field of employment, can benefit. Not to mention parents, teenagers, and anyone in the community who wants to be able to make a difference!
How much time does the training require? In as little as an hour and a half, people can learn to recognize the warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide. "Gatekeepers" are trained to recognize persons who may be at risk of suicide, persuade them to seek and accept help, and refer them to appropriate resources.
What is the cost? QPR trainings are sponsored by the McHenry County Mental Health Board, Behavioral Health Foundation, the McHenry County Community Foundation, and volunteer instructors. Trainings are offered at no cost to the community.
The QPR Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention is a brief educational program designed to teach "gatekeepers"--those who are strategically positioned to recognize and refer someone at risk of suicide (e.g., parents, friends, neighbors, teachers, coaches, caseworkers, police officers, human services and faith community representatives)--the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to respond by following three steps:
• Question the individual's desire or intent regarding suicide
• Persuade the person to seek and accept help
• Refer the person to appropriate resources
The McHenry County Suicide Prevention Taskforce reviewed several prevention programs and QPR was identified as an approach reflective of our community’s need. The McHenry County implementation plan includes “Certified Gatekeeper Instructor” commitments from approximately 20 local individuals. Once trained, these QPR Gatekeeper Instructors will seek opportunities to train others throughout the community.
QPR trained gatekeepers help create a community safety net for suicidal people by identifying them, questioning them, and persuading them to accept a referral for professional evaluation and/or care. Initiating this chain of events is a significant responsibility, not unlike initiating CPR until professional medical help arrives.
QPR for Communities: A Suicide Risk Reduction Program is a comprehensive community-based suicide risk reduction and prevention project. The project is designed to be carried out within a defined community and evaluated for effectiveness. The main goal of this systems approach to suicide prevention education and training is to build collective community competence through broad, systematic training of individual family members, key community “gatekeepers,” and all health and mental health care professionals. In addition to the community’s sense of shared responsibility to prevent suicide, the resulting educational outcome should:
1) enhance measures of individual self-efficacy in how to assist suicidal family members or loved ones,
2) improve the performance of key community gatekeepers in assisting suicidal person (e.g., law enforcement personnel)
3) improve measures of clinical competence and confidence in healthcare professionals who assess, manage and treat suicidal consumers.
When these outcomes have been successfully achieved, a fall in community rates of morbidity and mortality associated with suicidal behaviors is predicted.
At the community level, both lay citizens and professionals must work together to achieve two common goals: a greater sense of shared responsibility for the prevention of suicide and a greater sense of community competence in learning the skills necessary to prevent suicide attempts and completions.