QPR: Three simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life

By Noelle Hebgen, Director of Inpatient Behavioral Health

Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich maneuver help save thousands of lives each year through emergency responses, people trained in QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help.

In 1996, the QPR Institute partnered with Spokane Mental Health to develop the QPR method. Since that time, thousands of everyday people have been trained in QPR. As a result, these people have helped save the lives of their colleagues, friends, family members, and neighbors.

How is QPR like CPR? Both are part of a “Chain of Survival” and an emergency medical response. Both CPR and QPR are part of systems designed to increase the chance of survival in the event of a crisis.

In QPR, people are educated about the known warning signs of a suicide crisis which include expressions of hopelessness, depression, giving away prized possessions, talking of suicide, securing lethal means, and then they are taught how to respond.

QPR includes a series of systematic steps aimed at early recognition and intervention which include:

  • Early recognition of suicide- The sooner warning signs are detected and help sought, the better the outcome.
  • Early QPR – Asking someone about the presence of suicidal thoughts and feelings opens up a conversation that may lead to a referral for help. It does not make them have suicidal thoughts.
  • Early intervention and referral – Referral to local resources or calling 1-800-Suicide for evaluation and possible referral is critical.

The systematic, step by step approach of QPR allows for a well-executed, positive response to the early warning signs of suicide. This may be all that is needed in the chain of survival. By recognizing the early warning signs of suicide and offering hope and support to the suicidal individual the suicide attempt and crisis may be averted entirely.

Southwest Health is offering a FREE one hour community training event to learn QPR and help people in our area be ready to respond when someone they know needs help.

Learn more about the class and register to join us on Wednesday, May 22 from 5 to 6 pm by visiting southwesthealth.org/myhealthylife/programs.


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