SFA Counseling Services offered free QPR Training, or Question, Persuade and Refer Training, on Sept. 30, via Zoom, that taught skills to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how best to respond.

The presentation taught attendees the prevalence of suicide and the signs that someone could be at risk. Attendees were also shown how to effectively intervene with a person at risk.  Counseling Services reviewed the many sources of treatment and support for people struggling with depression.

“[QPR Training] is one of the most important presentations that we provide, as almost everyone at some point in their life will have an interaction related to suicidal thoughts,” Counselor Samantha Hosea said. “These conversations can be incredibly scary and intimidating. This presentation is about hope and helps prepare people for how to have a conversation about suicide and get people connected to help.”

The training was provided right before Mental Health Week, which is happening now, and provided students with ways to practice empathy for others.

“QPR skills can empower people to step into the pain of others and respond with hope, empathy and, perhaps more importantly, action,” Counselor Jennifer Klingenberg said. “This is a topic that affects every single one of us, and it’s time to end the stigma.”

Attendees who attended the training were certified as “QPR Gatekeepers.”  A gatekeeper is someone who is strategically positioned to recognize and refer someone at risk of suicide.

“We have seen how effective QPR is,” Director of Counseling Services Jill Milem said.  “It has increased the numbers of people being referred for help.  QPR Gatekeepers are lifesavers. QPR teaches people how to intervene to save a life.  This is particularly important now, as the suicide rate in our country has steadily risen in the past 15 years.”

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