Vital suicide prevention training saves livesOct 12, 2023 01:25PM ● By Peri Kinder
In a society where mental health challenges seem to be increasing, suicide prevention training is a call to action. Its mission is to create a safety net for those struggling with despair, depression and feelings of hopelessness, and it’s driven by the belief that every life is meaningful.
Riverton resident Lisa Carter runs the QPR Suicide Prevention training group for Riverton City which meets the third Thursday of each month, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Riverton City Hall (12830 S. Redwood Road). The 90-minute, free training teaches people how to be aware of warning signs for a person in a mental health or suicidal crisis. The main step is to ask if they are considering death by suicide.
“Question is the ‘Q’ of QPR. The question has to be asked, so you can find out how serious the crisis is,” Carter said. “You’re opening up that communication, you’re taking that burden off of that person and enabling them to talk about something that they’ve probably been thinking about for quite a while.”
Carter said QPR, which stands for Question, Persuade and Refer, is the mental health equivalent of CPR. If a person was trained to perform CPR on a heart attack victim, they would jump in and assist in the situation until professionals could show up and take over treatment.
Performing QPR serves the same purpose but instead of a medical condition, it helps people struggling with suicidal ideation until the person can talk to a counselor or therapist or be taken to a treatment center.
“Suicide has been the real pandemic for a long time,” Carter said. “People just don’t know until it happens, or it gets close to them with a family member or friend or an associate. They don’t realize the effect of it, and the trickle down, and the fact that once you have a family member or close friend or relative die by suicide, that puts you right up to the top of the list to be watched for having any signs or any thoughts of suicide.”
Since the QPR training reopened after COVID, the number of attendees has dropped. With the escalation of people struggling with mental health issues, Carter is concerned that there are not enough people in the community trained to intervene and possibly reduce the number of suicide deaths.
Not only does Carter offer training in Riverton, she travels to organizations outside of the city to reach as many people as possible. She trains parents, students, teachers, librarians, church groups, HOA officers and anyone else who wants to learn the Question, Persuade and Refer process. She encourages city residents to attend the training to learn how to be a lifeline.
“What is keeping them from coming out to a free class where they can learn how to save a life?” Cater said. “If only one person shows up to our class, we’re still okay with that because that’s one more person that we’ve taught how to save a life.”
The next QPR Suicide Prevention training is Thursday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. For more information, visit RivertonUtah.gov.
“Just by being aware of a few things and knowing the questions to ask and having the resources to refer those people to, we are able to save lives,” Carter said. “We’re trying to prevent suicide from occurring and the more people we can get involved with that, the better our numbers are going to be.” λ