QPR Suicide Prevention Training at IFL
“48,000 deaths annually are attributed to suicide,” Danielle Steward, employee at Washington County’s Health Equity Zone, Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, stated.
The QPR suicide prevention training on was held on Monday, September 13, at Island Free Library, on Block Island. QPR is a free, 75-minute, evidence-based suicide prevention training that is open to anyone on the island. According to Steward, QPR is only one part of the seven elements of the Zero Suicide Initiative, which is a foundation for health and behavioral health care systems. QPR stands for question, persuade, and refer.
Steward joined the training team in July of 2019. After providing training to staff at South County Health, WellOne, and South County Medical Group, Steward was inspired by Dr. Rob Harrison to come out to Block Island.
Having experience in providing training during the pandemic, Steward discussed how she was able to continue the meetings virtually.
“After the Pandemic started we had a bit of a lull in QPR training, but shortly started them up again via Zoom. This was great in that we felt like we could reach some people during some of their loneliest times,” Steward explained.
Steward started off with a hard-hitting introduction of facts on U.S. suicide rates, Rhode Island suicide rates, and more information about suicide and mental health in general. Steward informed the audience that there is one suicide every eleven minutes, or 130 suicides everyday, in the U.S.
According to the QPR training statistics: “More firefighters and police officers in 2018 and 2019 died by suicide than by being on duty.” Steward covered how when people have access to firearms, suicide attempts increase dramatically.
Steward went step by step through a slide show using statistics, real life examples, experiences, and videos to thoroughly explain how to approach and handle someone who may be suicidal, along with offering online resources for those in need by sharing numbers, websites, and apps.
Attendees shared their thoughts throughout the meeting. “I think a lot about how your brain lies to you,” one person added on Monday afternoon, speaking
about general anxiety and everyday stress.
Two more QPR in person training sessions will be held at the Island Free Library - one on Sunday, September 19, from 12 to 1 p.m. and another on Thursday September 28, from 12 to 1:15 p.m. Plus, there is a virtual meeting via Zoom on Wednesday September 22, from 6 to 7:15 p.m. The training
is sponsored by NAMI-BI.
Attendees enjoyed the training and found it beneficial.
“The training is not difficult, but useful for possibly saving someone’s life. It’s not intimidating and there’s no role playing, but you’re still learning something,” Kristin Baumann said.