This week I had the opportunity to take a class on QPR. QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer. QPR is an emergency mental health intervention for suicidal persons which was created by Paul Quinnett back in 1995, the intent is to identify and interrupt the crisis and direct that person to the proper care. Here is a link to their website that explains the process in more detail https://qprinstitute.com/about-qpr
The easiest way for me to explain QPR is to think of it like this, in firefighting, when we get dispatched to a fire often we have no idea how big the fire will be, it could be a small trash can fire burning in the kitchen or it could be the entire house is on fire. Regardless of the size of fire we always give our best effort to save lives and preserve property as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The sooner a fire is reported the better the chances are of stopping that fire before it destroys the entire house. If the fire goes unnoticed for too long it will be harder to control and most likely the damage will be so great that the structure and all of its contents will be a total loss, not to mention should someone be trapped by the fire, their chances of survival drastically decrease as more time passes in the event. This same theory applies to mental health. The longer a mental health condition lingers the harder it can be to fix that condition or the harder it may be to prevent a person dying from suicide.
One way to help prevent people from dying from suicide is having people trained in early intervention, people that are taught to recognize the early signs of a suicidal behavior and also trained on how to refer someone to the help they need. We have to stop being afraid of approaching someone who you suspect is in need of help, QPR training provides you with the tools to do just that, it teaches you to not just listen but to respond.
Many companies over the years have provided their employees with CPR training, and now with advancement in medical equipment many companies also have employees trained in how to use an automated external defibrillator, or also known as an AED. Also another thing some companies provide for their employees are lactation rooms for mothers who need some privacy during the day to handle their lactation needs. All of these things are meant to help save a life or help improve the work environment for the employees.
So my hope is that with mental health becoming a more talked about subject, maybe more companies will provide their employees with QPR training, and also provide a designated area or room that employees can utilize should the need arise to intervene with someone experiencing a mental health emergency. It’s really no different than giving employees training and tools to save someone’s life during a heart attack, the same needs to be done to help someone in a mental health crisis.
Lastly I know that we cannot save everyone no matter how hard we try, and just like fighting fires, you will save some and you will lose some, but if we do nothing or don’t respond, then we won’t save any.