Nearly everywhere you look, the world is filled with stressors. No one is immune from the pressures of daily life. Sometimes work or school can feel overwhelming. In other cases, personal health or family problems can make life seem bleak.
It’s easy to say that all struggles are temporary and that things will be better soon. For some people, though, it’s hard to see that situations will ever improve. Over time, their worries can start to feel tremendously heavy. As a result, every year, millions of people battle powerful anxiety and depression that lead them to consider suicide.
For many individuals, the mental health fight happens in silence. A friend or family member may be in this situation and never tell you. That’s why it’s important for you to be able to recognize the warning signs of suicide. To protect your loved ones, you may want to consider QPR training. It stands for question, persuade, and refer, and it’s a type of suicide prevention training.
It’s a simple three-step process. The training prepares you to recognize when someone is at risk for suicide. It also goes a step further. You’ll also have the knowledge necessary to intervene and possibly prevent a crisis.
The Suicide Problem
Historically, suicide hasn’t really been a topic of conversation. Fortunately, that’s changing as society recognizes that it’s an enormous public health concern. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a 20-year spike in the suicide rate. In 2020, the rate was 30% higher than in 2000.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12.2 million adults considered suicide in 2020. Roughly 3.2 million people made a plan, and 1.2 million followed through with their plan. As a result, nearly 46,000 people died.
Mental health professionals are a vital part of helping people who struggle with suicidal thoughts. They aren’t the only ones who can make a difference, though. If you complete effective QPR training, you could potentially reduce the chances someone will choose suicide. With only an hour’s worth of instruction, you could save a life.
Benefits of QPR Training
Even if you don’t have a degree in mental health studies, QPR training helps you recognize when someone is at risk. Here are some benefits.
1. Identifying the Warning Signs
People struggling with suicidal thoughts frequently don’t talk about it. However, they do display a handful of warning signs. Maybe they’re becoming more anxious, angry, or sad. They could start to pull away from friends, family, or co-workers. Increased alcohol and drug use or even sleeping all the time could be red flags.
If you aren’t aware, you may not notice these behavioral changes. It’s easy for them to slip by unnoticed until it is too late. With QPR training, though, you’re better equipped to pick up on these subtle cues. Once you recognize the potential danger, you can step in to help.
2. Opening Up a Conversation
When you ask someone a personal question, there’s always the chance it will feel awkward. That can absolutely be the case when suicide is the topic. Making the first move to start a conversation is critical, though. It lets someone know you see they’re hurting, and it gives them a chance to share their feelings. Once you open the door, their emotions, worries, and concerns could come rushing through.
QPR training teaches you how to ask someone about any suicidal thoughts in a way that isn’t accusatory or degrading. With this guidance, you can gently coax them to open up about their troubles. It’s more than an opportunity to be compassionate, however. By talking with them about their feelings, you can also offer up some vital mental health resources.
3. Knowing the Right Resources
While having a discussion with someone about their struggles is good, they’ll likely need more help. It’s likely that you’re not a mental health professional, and you don’t need to be. With QPR training, you’ll know how to help your friend or family member get the assistance they need.
If they’re a co-worker, you can guide them to your office’s suicide prevention program (if it has one). If your workplace doesn’t have one, you should also be more familiar with mental health services in the community. For more recommendations or referrals to local resources, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center is also available to help.
4. Helping People Recapture Happiness
Completing QPR training is about more than picking up on suicide warning signs and providing prevention resources, though. A big part of it is also about helping someone you care about feel happy and hopeful again. When you extend a sympathetic hand, you’re rebuilding someone’s ability to cope.
With your support, they can regain confidence, motivation, and self-esteem. Oftentimes, it’s easier for people to handle their problems when they know they aren’t alone. By reaching out, you’re giving them a hand to hold during difficult times.
With so many stresses and pressures pulling people in multiple directions, it’s easy to understand why some individuals lose hope. They don’t need to suffer in silence, though. Consider investing in QPR training. Taking that time can teach you about the different ways sadness can show up. The more you know, the easier it will be to recognize when someone around you is struggling. That’s your opportunity to make a difference.
If you or a loved one are experiencing harmful or suicidal thoughts, call or text the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline anytime, 24/7 at 988.