QPR: Question, Persuade, and Refer

What is QPR?

QPR  stands for Question, Persuade and Refer. These three simple steps can help save the life of a suicidal person, and they can be learned by anyone. It only takes about an hour to learn them. Suicide is currently the tenth leading cause of death in the United States (Source: National Vital Statistics Reports, Volume 59, Number 10, December 7, 2011, Miniņo, et al) and it the most preventable cause of death. To put it simply, you can save a life just by asking a question and then listening openly to the answer.

Contrary to the common concern that talking about suicide with a person may give them the idea to do it, open, frank and calm discussion with a person who is having suicidal feelings can actually open a door to hope for that person. QPR Gatekeepers learn the signs of suicidal thought, and they learn to Question, Persuade and Refer the suicidal individual to get help. The simple act of asking the question, "Are you thinking of killing yourself?" can lead to saving a life.

QPR is similar to CPR

CPR is something anyone can learn, and it is comprised of simple skills that can keep a person alive until medical help can arrive. If you have a heart attack in a restaurant, for example, your chance of survival is greatly enhanced if someone in the room has been trained to recognize your distress and can apply CPR until EMS arrives. The paramedics are the ones trained to give life saving care, but if no one keeps your blood circulating to get oxygen to your vital organs while waiting for help to arrive, the paramedics might have nothing to do when they get there.

With QPR, we also learn to recognize the signs of distress and how to respond. And QPR can be learned by anyone-in fact, the more the better. Like CPR, QPR is a simple set of skills that can keep a suffering person alive until professional help can get to them, but in the case of QPR it's until we can get the person to the professional help. QPR can give life sustaining assistance to a person suffering an emotional "heart attack" until those trained to help can assist them.

Who can learn QPR?

You! Because suicide does not discriminate in any way, and because anyone can witness a suicidal threat, it is important that as many people become QPR Gatekeepers as possible. Teachers, teens, Steven Ministers, Celebrate Recovery facilitators, military personnel, seniors, the list is infinite. The QPR Institute would like one in four people to know QPR, and at least one person in each family. If as many people knew QPR as knew CPR, think of the lives that could be saved!

Where can I learn QPR?

If you're in the Greenville, SC area, Mental Health America of Greenville County has several employees certified to teach QPR. If you have a group that would like to learn QPR, contact MHAGC. Outside of the Greenville area, please check the QPR Institute's website.


Suicide Myths and Facts
Warning Signs of Suicide
Signs of Depression
Depression Screening
QPR Resources

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