QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer) Suicide Prevention Training is a free course offered by Jerry Girard, the director of student counseling at the University of Montana Western. The hour and a half class teaches the basic fundamentals of identifying when a person is in crisis and how to react to the situation.
Montana is ranked number one in the nation among suicide deaths. In QPR training, participants learn that suicide is preventable, mental illness is treatable, and ways to spot the signs a person in crisis may give off, and how to react. After completion of the class, participants receive a QPR certification.
Learning the facts and history is of utmost importance when it comes to mental health awareness. Beginning in 2008 with the economic downturn, suicide rates began to climb and have shown no signs of slowing down. 47,000 suicides accounted for the deaths in 2017. Seventy-five percent of suicide attempts are female. However, the survival rate of suicides favor women, who tend to take more passive methods, such as pill overdose, the most common form of suicide. The male suicide population encompasses more fatalities, with a 75% success rate due to suicide methods being more active in ways such as firearm (51%) or hanging.
A person contemplating suicide will act on that impulse in three to ten days in most cases. To help with this epidemic, a national crisis hotline is available at 1-800-273-8255 or you can text 741741. The federal government has been working to establish a 988 line, similar to 911, but primarily for suicide cases.
If you missed this QPR training and would like to attend one, Jerry will host another session on Saturday February 1st at the Twin Bridges school in the Montana Room starting at 2 PM.