What is the QPR Suicide Prevention Method?

Jul 2023

"Suicide Prevention" in red on a white piece of paper.

Prompt intervention can prevent suicide

Death by suicide is preventable.

People who are at risk of suicide display warning signs that can be observed and acted upon by those close to them. And with prompt intervention, the risk of suicide can be mitigated and a life saved, both in the short-term and long-term.

One of the most effective suicide prevention methods anyone can learn is called the QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) method. Full disclosure. Skip Simpson is honored to be on the faculty of the QPR Institute.

Understanding the QPR method

QPR is intended to be analogous to CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), the Heimlich maneuver, and other immediate interventions that anyone can learn to stop a medical emergency. The QPR method treats suicidality as an acute mental health emergency, just like cardiac arrest or choking is a physical health emergency. People with QPR training are equipped to:

  • Recognize the warning signs that someone may be at risk of suicide
  • Understand common myths and misconceptions about suicide
  • Ask questions to assess suicide risk
  • Offer hope to people who are at risk of suicide
  • Persuade people at risk of suicide to get help
  • Refer a person at risk of suicide to appropriate mental health resources

Much like CPR, the goal of QPR is to stop the immediate crisis until a professional with more advanced training can provide further care and treatment, up to and including inpatient care if necessary. It’s part of a “chain of survival” intended to increase the probability that a life-threatening crisis can be survived.

QPR Gatekeeper training through the QPR Institute can be completed in just one to two hours. More extensive training, mentioned below, is also available. The more members of the general public trained in QPR, the more likely it is that suicides can be prevented with immediate intervention from a family member, friend, or colleague.

Additional training is important for professionals who regularly encounter at-risk people

While suicide prevention training is important for anyone, it’s particularly important for workers in professions that regularly come in contact with people at risk of suicide, such as:

  • Educators
  • Lawyers and legal professionals
  • Law enforcement
  • Emergency responders
  • Foremen, supervisors, and team leaders
  • Parents
  • Ministers and religious leaders
  • Healthcare workers

Unfortunately, many healthcare professionals in particular are under-trained in suicide prevention. Medical professionals who are not specifically trained in mental health often do not know what to do when they encounter a patient who is at risk of suicide. A doctor’s or nurse’s responsibility to their patients includes referring them to appropriate resources or specialists when they encounter a problem that is outside their area of expertise. When they fail to meet that standard, the consequences can be tragic.

If you have lost a loved one to suicide, our law firm can help

The team at the Law Offices of Skip Simpson is dedicated to suicide prevention, and that includes holding medical professionals accountable when they fail to meet their responsibilities to patients who are at risk of dying by suicide. If you have lost a loved one to suicide completion, we would be honored to listen to your story and explain your legal options. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation. We serve families throughout the United States.

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