As part of National Suicide Prevention Awareness month, Student Counseling Services and Health Promotion and Wellness Services hosted a Question, Persuade, and Refer marathon-training day on Sept. 21, 2016. The event was held in the Auburn University Student Center from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., with 50-minute rotations every hour.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death of young adults aged 15 – 25, and like CPR, or the Heimlich maneuver, the application of QPR can save a life. Designed to assist the trainee in intervening with someone considering suicide, QPR’s mission is “to teach those who are in a position to recognize the warning signs, clues and suicidal communications of people in trouble to act vigorously to prevent a possible tragedy.” QPR trains people to question a person about suicide, persuade the person to get help and refer the person to the appropriate resource.
According to Eric Smith, director of Health Promotion and Wellness Services, QPR is nationally accepted as the best-certified practice for suicide prevention and early intervention. “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary crisis,” he said. “If we can get a person through that anxious moment then we can go a long way.”
Dr. Doug Hankes, director of Student Counseling Services, added that the topic of suicide also serves as a hurdle for those needing help. “Suicide is one of society’s last taboos,” he said. “It’s an uncomfortable topic, and we don’t like to talk about it. QPR helps us have the conversation that is necessary to save lives.”
Regular QPR sessions are held during the academic year, and Smith said their goal is to train as many people as possible in QPR, particularly students. During the marathon training day, approximately 400 people received training. Smith said once a student has completed training, they are certified to intervene as a “gatekeeper to the healing process.”
“The antidote for suicide is hope, and QPR, at the end of the day, plants a seed of hope in somebody that they are actually going to be okay, and they are going to make it to tomorrow,” he said. “Having the right conversation with someone contemplating suicide can lead them to Student Counseling Services. QPR is a life-line.”
Last year, Auburn University trained 26 people to facilitate QPR training. One trainer can adequately train 25 people. The trainers can also come to groups, organizations or departments upon request, to teach QPR. In total, including those trained on Sept. 21, facilitators have trained close to 8,000 individuals so far.
For more information on QPR, or to schedule a QPR training session, please contact Student Counseling Services at 334-844-5123 or auburn.edu/scs, or Health Promotion and Wellness Services at 334-844-1528 or auburn.edu/hpws. For more information about suicide prevention, please visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
written by Rachel Littleton
Last modified: 09/27/2016