by Victoria Cameron
On Sept. 12, Region V came to Concordia University to provide Question Persuade Refer (QPR) training.
QPR training is a suicide prevention tool. Campus Nurse Andreea Baker has been inviting Region V to provide training for several years due to the rising suicide rates in Nebraska. QPR training gives students and faculty a basis for what to do should they encounter someone possibly thinking of killing themselves.
“You have the skillset to be able to offer hope and to offer help to someone who may not know where to go, and may not be in the mindset of being ready to ask for help,” Baker said.
Many of the faculty and staff attend this training, although it is not required. Assistant Professor of Communication Dr. Erica Lamm has gone many times and strongly recommends it.
“I consider my profession not just about teaching content but about caring for students,” Lamm said.
The first step in QPR is to question. If you see someone potentially considering suicide, QPR instructs to ask directly, “Are you considering suicide?” It can feel overly direct and uncomfortable, but it’s necessary.
“Statistically speaking, if you ask them that direct question, they’re more likely to give a correct answer, they’re less likely to lie to you,” Baker said.
The second step is to persuade the person not to kill themselves.
“Most people–they don’t want to die. They just want the pain to end. So you do something to distract them and get them thinking about something else and get them help right away, so they know that dying isn’t the answer,” Lamm said.
The third step is to refer. People may feel they have nowhere to turn, but there are many on and off-campus resources for people considering suicide, including the campus pastor, counseling center, health center, professors, care team, national suicide prevention hotline number (1-800-273-8255), and app suggestions.
QPR training is held about twice a semester, but Baker is looking to offer it more often and at times more convenient for students. Many students have expressed interest but were not able to attend the scheduled training. The next training is not yet scheduled, but past attendees encourage everyone who is able to go.
“It’s not going to just help you while you’re here on campus, it can help you in all walks of life, so when you leave Concordia you’re equipped and prepared,” Baker said.