Stop suicide

What is QPR?

Q: Question

P: Persuade

R: Refer

QPR stands for Question, Persuade and Refer — the three simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide.

Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade and refer someone to help. Each year, thousands of Americans, like you, are saying “Yes” to saving the life of a friend, colleague, sibling or neighbor.

QPR can be learned in our gatekeeper training course in as little as one hour at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 18, at Hutchinson Health.

The class is free to individuals and organizations. The 90-minute training includes information about high-risk populations including youth, elderly and farmers.

What is a gatekeeper? According to the 2001 Surgeon General’s National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, a gatekeeper is someone in a position to recognize a crisis and the warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide.

Gatekeepers can be anyone, but they include parents, friends, neighbors, teachers, ministers, doctors, nurses, office supervisors, squad leaders, foremen, police officers, advisors, caseworkers, firefighters and many others who are strategically positioned to recognize and refer someone at risk of suicide.

As a QPR-trained gatekeeper, you will learn to recognize the warning signs of suicide, know how to offer hope and know how to get help and save a life.

Much of the world is familiar with CPR — short for cardiopulmonary resuscitation — an emergency medical intervention created in 1957 by Peter Safar. Similarly, QPR is an an emergency mental health intervention for suicidal people that was created in 1995 by Paul Quinnett. The intent is to identify and interrupt the crisis and direct that person to the proper care.

The need for early recognition of suicide warning signs cannot be overemphasized.

The prompt recognition of the scream of a smoke detector can eliminate the need to suppress a raging fire. In just that way, by recognizing the early warning signs of suicide, opening a supporting dialogue with a suicidal person and securing consultation, a professional may prevent the need for an emergency room visit or psychiatric hospitalization.

Often times, the simple offering of hope and social and spiritual support can avert a suicide attempt entirely.

In QPR, the general public is educated about the known warning signs of a suicide crisis — expressions of hopelessness, depression, giving away prized possessions, talking of suicide, securing lethal means — and then taught how to respond.

Who needs training? In short, the more people trained in QPR, the more lives saved.

At the end of 2009, an estimated 1 million Americans had been trained in QPR by certified QPR instructors. Because suicides happen in families — where emergency interventions are more likely to take place — we believe that at least one person per family unit should be trained in QPR.

Again, the free training will be offered at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 18, at Hutchinson Health. Register by calling Candace Hoversten at 320-484-4557, or email

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