QPR stands for Question, Persuade, Refer, and it’s a suicide prevention protocol designed to help individuals identify and respond to someone in crisis who may be contemplating suicide. The goal of QPR is not to provide counselling or treatment, but rather to identify individuals at risk, persuade them to seek professional help, and guide them to the appropriate resources.
Here’s a brief explanation of the three steps:
- Question: Ask the person about suicidal thoughts. If you suspect that someone might be contemplating suicide, it’s important to ask them directly and openly. While this might be uncomfortable, being direct provides the person with the opportunity to open up and discuss their feelings. For example, you might ask, “Are you thinking about suicide?”
- Persuade: If the person acknowledges that they’re contemplating suicide, your role is to persuade them to seek professional help. This can involve listening and expressing concern without passing judgment, expressing your belief that professional help is needed and can help, and, if possible, assisting them to identify professional resources (such as a mental health professional or a trusted medical doctor).
- Refer: The final step involves helping the person connect with professional mental health resources. This might mean providing them with a phone number for a crisis line, offering to accompany them to a mental health clinic or a hospital, or assisting them in reaching out to a mental health professional.
Keep in mind that while QPR can be a useful tool, it doesn’t replace the need for professional help. If someone is in immediate danger of attempting suicide, you should not hesitate to call emergency services.
If you’re looking to learn more about QPR, there are numerous online courses available that can provide more in-depth training. The official QPR Institute website (https://qprinstitute.com/) is a great place to start.