Question. Persuade. Refer.
These are three simple steps anyone can learn to prevent suicide by undertaking QPR Gatekeeper training.
And - as community members are encouraged to learn CPR to potentially save lives -the public is urged to learn QPR to do the same for those people struggling with suicidal thoughts.
The Mercury and the Illawarra Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention Collaborative have partnered to launch the 2023 Care To QPR campaign, raising awareness of suicide prevention and giving 500 people free access to a course that will equip them with the skills to have these vital conversations.
The training means parents, partners, relatives, friends, colleagues - anyone wanting to help those around them - can learn how to give the support their friends and loved ones need.
QPR (question, persuade, refer) is a one-hour online program that teaches people how to identify the warning signs that someone might be thinking about suicide; confidently ask a person if they are thinking about suicide; and connect them with appropriate support.
The Mercury has joined forces with the Collaborative to help train up members of the community to have those conversations.
As part of the partnership 500 free QPR Gatekeeper training courses will be provided to members of the public who sign up online.
Over the course of the coming weeks the Mercury will tell stories of those directly impacted by suicide. We have also committed to running adverts across our print and digital platforms to provide information for anyone who requires support and help.
Collaborative member and program manager suicide prevention at the primary health network COORDINARE, Jo Riley, said people with lived experience of suicide often spoke of how important it was when someone noticed something was happening and had the courage to ask, "Are you thinking about suicide?"
Ms Riley said this signalled to the person that someone was willing to listen, and simply talking helped relieve distress.
She said, was important because suicide was an issue that needed vigilance from the community.
"Sadly, we know that there are people in our community today who are thinking about suicide," Ms Riley said.
Based on a five-year average, 55 people are lost each year to suicide in the Illawarra Shoalhaven.
The causes are complex, and over a third of people who suicide do not have a mental health condition. It affects people from all backgrounds and social groups.
To secure one of the 500 free QPR licences, current for three years, community members should go to www.suicidepreventioncollaborative.org.au/training/question-persuade-refer/
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