Class offers suicide prevention tools through ‘Question Persuade Refer’ methodFeb 03, 2023 08:38AM ● By Collette Hayes
Suicide Prevention QPR class poster: The Holladay Library will be offering a 90-minute suicide prevention presentation on Feb. 8. The presentation is sponsored by Happy Healthy Holladay, a city-sponsored committee that is a health coalition of Salt Lake County, Salt Lake County Library, Holladay Branch and the Salt Lake County Health Department. (Collette Hayes/City Journals)
It doesn’t matter how positive life may look at the moment for an individual; suicide can affect anyone at any time. At some point over the course of a lifetime, everyone will struggle with what seems to be overwhelming adversity. When life throws a curve ball, how does one handle it?
Learning suicide prevention tools can help build confidence by helping an individual to feel empowered when life throws a curve ball either directed toward themselves or others.
The Holladay Library will be offering a 90-minute suicide prevention presentation on Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. The presentation is sponsored by Happy Healthy Holladay, a city-sponsored committee that is a health coalition of Salt Lake County, Salt Lake County Library, Holladay Branch and the Salt Lake County Health Department.
Salt Lake County Health Department suicide prevention health educator BreeAnn Silcox will be presenting information on the Question Persuade Refer (QPR) method. The QPR method teaches an individual how to recognize the warning signs of suicidal ideation and how to start a needed conversation that might be difficult. Normalizing difficult conversations provides hope to those struggling with mental health concerns and presents the opportunity to encourage those in need to reach out to the many resources available that support mental health challenges.
Holly Smith, assistant city manager for Holladay City and chair of Happy Healthy Holladay, said the main goal of the Holladay sponsored committee is to look for ways to promote healthy living but also to look at current data from the Salt Lake County Health Department to see where there is a need to provide additional resources for community health challenges. Depression and suicide are two of the top 10 areas that have been identified in the data as opportunities for providing needed support.
“Connection is the opposite of depression,” Smith said. “Isolation can be a breeding ground for negative thoughts and feelings. The Salt Lake County Health Department’s QPR class is one way to learn how to connect with someone who is struggling and to initiate a needed conversation. Partnering with other agencies is our committee’s strength. As part of a coalition, we are trying to make sure everyone is in step supporting and learning from each other which enables us to provide needed information and resources to the community. There is a lot of need, yet there is a lot of opportunity to link arms as a community. That’s our power, right? Everyone working together to build a happy, healthy community.”
In a recent conversation with Silcox at the Salt Lake County Health Department, she pointed out how important it is to talk about mental health and make it a normal part of things being discussed.
“Everyone at some point in life is going to struggle with a mental health concern,” Silcox said. “Most people that have thoughts of suicide do not die of suicide. If we can shift the narrative about suicide, hopefully people can feel more comfortable in reaching out for help without feeling like there would be negative consequences for themselves in the future. The presentation that we are doing in Holladay is called the QPR—Question Persuade Refer. Basically, it teaches an individual how to recognize the warning signs of suicidal ideation. Question is all about how we ask someone about suicide, and we give some pretty specific examples of ways someone could ask. I like to have people find language that is comfortable for them and natural. We also give examples of how not to ask the question, too. Persuade is listening to a person and asking them if we can get them connected to help. Refer is then making that connection and going through resources to find different ways to connect a person to the help.”
Silcox mentioned there are a number of resources available for teaching healthy coping strategies and the earlier these strategies are taught, the better. Learning coping strategies earlier in life can help a person to navigate the intense or stressful moments we experience.
“Even in a high-intensity moment we want individuals to be trained to step in and be there for people that are experiencing crisis,” Silcox said. “Also, we want to make sure that survivors of suicide loss have access to needed resources as well. When we receive training in suicide prevention, it can provide confidence to know what resources are available and what to do when challenging situations arise.”
If you or anyone that you know struggles with mental health challenges or concerns and needs immediate support, reach out to:
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: 988
For those who have lost someone to suicide: Caring Connections provides support groups www.nursing.utah.edu/caring-connections,
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: www.afsp.org/
Live On Utah: www.liveonutah.org/ is a website where people can learn more about how to help someone or how to get help.