QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer — the 3 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 course in as little as one to two hours.
According to the Surgeon General’s National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (2001), 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 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.
Both are interventions Much of the world is familiar with CPR — short for cardiopulmonary resuscitation — an emergency medical intervention created in 1957 by Peter Safar. The process is designed to stabilize people who aren’t breathing or breathing intermittently and who may be in cardiac arrest until the person can reach a hospital or other care. Similarly, QPR is an emergency mental health intervention for suicidal persons created in 1995 by Paul Quinnett. An abbreviation for Question, Persuade and Refer, the intent is also to identify and interrupt the crisis and direct that person to the proper care.
We cannot overemphasize the need for early recognition of suicide warning signs. 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 early the 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 CPR the general public is educated about the classic signs of a heart attack: pressure, fullness, squeezing and pain in the center of the chest, sweating, and other symptoms, and then taught how to respond. 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.