You’ve heard of CPR, which can save the life of someone’s heart stops. But do you know about QPR? QPR stands for “Question, Persuade and Refer,” and it may make the difference in the life of someone who is considering self-harm or suicide. Throughout the month of September, we have been focusing on suicide prevention as part of the National Suicide Prevention Month. QPR, a training program offered by the Hancock Health Connection Center, educates people about suicide warning signs and equips them with steps they can take to save lives.
A look at suicide statistics
Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in Indiana. However, it is the third leading cause of death in Indiana for people between the ages of 10-24, and the second leading cause of death for ages 25-34, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE). Nationwide, suicide was responsible for 48,183 deaths in 2021. That’s one death every 11 minutes.
Suicide can touch any family, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, and location. However, certain groups have higher rates of suicide, including non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native people, followed by non-Hispanic white people. People who live in rural areas have higher-than-average rates of suicide, as well as young people who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual.
Suicidal tendencies may be difficult to identify, and many survivors struggle with feelings of guilt when they lose a loved one to suicide. Sometimes it is simply impossible to prevent suicide. However, programs like QPR can make a difference. In fact, a retrospective study of QPR participants in Tennessee showed that more than 42% were able to identify and intervene with at least one at-risk youth in the six months after taking the course. Let’s dig into what happens in QPR training.
Hancock Health Connection Center staff offers QPR training classes to interested groups and individuals. Our staff has been trained through the QPR Institute, which developed the QPR curriculum and program. QPR classes are pivotal to caring for the mental health of Hancock County residents. Just as you rely on a smoke detector to warn you before the flames engulf your home, the training offered during a QPR class can help you take action with someone who is considering suicide.
During a two-hour training session, participants focus on several key components:
- How can you question, persuade and refer someone who may be suicidal
- Getting help for yourself or learning more about suicide prevention
- Common causes of suicidal behavior
- Warning signs of suicide
- How to get help for someone in crisis
QPR training is offered periodically through the Hancock Health Connection Center. Our next session in 2023 will be from 2-4 pm Tuesday, Nov. 14, at the Connection Center. You can register for the free class here. Our staff also offers QPR training to outside groups and organizations. If you are interested in hosting a class, call us at 317-468-4231.
A far-reaching impact
Suicidal behavior affects more than just the person who attempts to end their life. Suicide attempts can have lasting effects on someone’s overall physical health. There may long-term mental health issues, including depression or anxiety.
Suicidal behavior also leaves its mark on loved ones and family members, who can experience prolonged grief, shock, anger, guilt, depression, and anxiety. Suicide and self-harm can cost more than $500 billion in medical expenses, days lost from work and quality of life costs.
Other suicide prevention resources
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors, you can call 988 to be connected immediately with the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Calling this number puts you in touch with trained counselors who can listen, support and provide referrals to local resources.
The Hancock Health Connection Center has a staff of support navigators who are here to listen to concerns and refer people to appropriate support services and treatment options. Anyone who is a Hancock County resident or a Hancock Health patient or associate can stop by the center, located at 120 W. McKenzie Road in Greenfield, during regular business hours.
Suicide does not have to be an inevitable conclusion for someone who is struggling. Be proactive now by registering for the next QPR training session on November 14 at the Connection Center. Or, talk to a support navigator about how you can become familiar with the warning signs of suicide and how to help someone find appropriate resources in time to save their own lives.