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Resource: QPR Suicide Prevention course
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It’s not easy to talk about suicide, but according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suicide rates in the U.S. increased between 2021 and 2022.
The five years I spent suicidal were excruciating—but not just for me. My mother (a true hero) endured five years of being on suicide watch. Families and friends are the heroes in these situations, yet they’re rarely given resources or training.
Friends, family, and anyone who needs support and/or wants to learn more about being there for someone experiencing suicidal thoughts can take the QPR Suicide Prevention course. QPR stands for Question, Persuade, Refer—the three steps to take when helping someone in crisis.
The QPR Institute is included in SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices and offers many courses. Its online, one-hour course specifically addresses how to assist someone in crisis, including
understanding the common causes of suicidal behavior
spotting warning signs of suicide (direct verbal cues, subtle verbal cues, behavioral clues, situational clues, etc.)
knowing how to get help for someone in crisis
The course gives specific examples of what to look for, say, and do.
One of the most powerful parts of the training is the list of suicide myths and facts they go over:
Myth: No one can stop a suicide; it is inevitable.
Fact: If people in a crisis get the help they need, they will probably never be suicidal again.
Myth: Asking someone in crisis about their thoughts, feelings, and plans will only make someone angry and increase the risk.
Fact: Asking someone directly can reduce anxiety and open communication.
Myth: Only experts can prevent suicide.
Fact: No, we can all help.
When I was suicidal, I was very aware of the myth that those who talk about it are just attention-seeking. I didn’t want to be seen that way, so I didn’t talk about it, which almost led to my death. As my instructor put it, it’s not attention-seeking; it’s attention-needing.
Anyone can take the training—organizations too. There’s a course for teens as well.
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Find more resources for mental health recovery.
Read the prequel to ‘Cured,’ ‘Pathological’ (HarperCollins):