Southeast Idaho Public Health offering a free suicide prevention class

Southeast Idaho Public Health will teach participants how to use Question, Persuade, and Refer to help save a life from suicide at their March 10, meeting.

POCATELLO – Southeast Idaho Public Health is offering QPR Training for suicide prevention and will be free of charge to the public.

Southeast Idaho Public Health is offering a suicide prevention course that is free to the public.

QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer — the 3 simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. The 90-minute virtual training will be held on Wednesday, March 10, from 12 Noon – 1:30 p.m. and Thursday, March 25, from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Participants can choose the day that works best for them.

Rhonda D’Amico, the facilitator of the training, said one of the strengths of QPR training is that it gives participants the knowledge to talk with people about suicide.

Some people think that if you ask someone about suicide that you may be planting thoughts about it,” she said. “But they have found asking about suicide gives people a chance to talk about how they are feeling.”

The training teaches people what to look for and what to say and what resources they have in hand.

“In 2021, we will be teaching the courses twice a month as well as a more advanced course,” D’Amico said. “One class is for adults teaching teens and one course is for adults dealing with adults.

“After evaluating the training, people come out of the course with greater confidence to know what to say and what to do,” she said. “It gives people the ability to ask the right questions and assessing the level of risk.”

Participants learn to destress and, if they are not suicidal, understanding where they are in terms of needing help.

Sometimes there might not be an option, they need to call 911 or maybe talk to a doctor or take control of the crisis,” D’Amico said. “The other thing is to know whether to call a crisis center or centers, you are willing to create a safe space.”

D’Amico has been teaching the course since 2018 and taught Death and Dying before that at Idaho State University.

Participants who attend the training will learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade and refer (QPR) someone to help. Much like CPR or the Heimlich Maneuver, the fundamentals of QPR are easily learned, and the application could save a life.

The Center for Disease Control has posted the following information about suicides: “It is a serious issue in the United States. Many suicides are the result of unavoidable circumstances,” the post said. “One commonality among people who die by suicide is an unshakeable feeling of dread, despair, loneliness, and hopelessness.”

These adjectives can be said to be overused in the discussions revolving around suicide, but they need to be taken seriously for suicide rates to decrease.

Both Utah and Idaho have a high rate of death by suicides, Idaho ranking fifth and Utah ranking sixth out of 50 states. Here are the top 10 rankings by states for death by suicide:

  1. Wyoming – 25.2
  2. New Mexico – 25
  3. Montana – 24.9
  4. Alaska – 24.6
  5. Idaho – 23.9
  6. Utah – 22.2
  7. Colorado – 21.9
  8. West Virginia – 21.2
  9. Nevada – 20.8
  10. Oklahoma – 20

The training is being sponsored by Southeastern Idaho Public Health and everyone is welcome to attend. To register, visit siphidaho.org or contact Rhonda D’Amico at rdamico@siph.idaho.gov.  Additional information on QPR can be found at: www.qprinstitute.com.

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