Nebraska groups hold QPR — Question, Persuade and Refer — training to prevent suicide

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Several organizations in southeast Nebraska are joining together to train people on how to save a life.

Sept. 4 to 10 is National Suicide Prevention Week, which is why 20 sessions of QPR Gatekeeper Training are being held across Nebraska.

The first session was held at Raymond United Methodist Church on Sunday.

Krista Kohles attended the training after having her own experience with someone who was going through a mental health crisis.

“My husband and I were sitting at home one evening, and our phone rang. I recognized on the caller ID the name, but I hadn’t spoken to this person in a while,” Kohles said. “When I answered the phone, we did a little bit of chitchat. I was curious as to why this person was calling, and little did I know that they were experiencing a life-changing moment.”

Kohles said this experience was the reason she decided to attend the training, which was held at her church.

Though she was able to help the person through their troubles, she wanted this training so she could be better prepared in the future.

QPR stands for Question, Persuade and Refer, which are the three steps that are covered in the 90-minute sessions.

The goal is to help anyone be able to recognize the warning signs of suicide.

They will also learn how to offer hope, how to get proper help and potentially save a life.

Teri Effle, a prevention specialist for Region V Systems, said the training is meant to teach anyone.

“It really is one of my favorite programs because you can walk out of here after 90 minutes and use it,” Effle said. “You’re completely capable of being an intervener.”

The sessions are free and open to the public, with Zoom options available for those who can’t attend in person.

Kohles said learning how to assist someone who is having a mental health crisis has given her peace of mind.

“You just never know when an occasion like that might come into your life,” Kohles said. “You should have some training to just feel a little more comfortable about how to refer or what questions to ask.”

Effle said often, the decision to attempt suicide is very impulsive. Research shows it usually takes usually between 60 and 120 seconds to make the decision.

She said that’s why these sessions can be so impactful.

“It’s key that everybody gets trained so that everybody is ready to jump in when the opportunity presents itself,” Effle said. “The more people there are, the less likely that somebody will slip through the cracks.”

Visit this link for the QPR Training Sessions.

Visit this link for mental health resources.

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