QPR trains Lawrence community in suicide prevention

Cassidy Wilson

QPR, part of the Lawrence University Lifeline initiative, constitutes a useful framework for intervening with individuals who show warning signs of suicidal behavior. Free training sessions will be offered to Lawrence students and staff on April 16.

QPR stands for Question, Persuade, Refer. Julie Haurykiewicz, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, coordinates the logistical aspects of the training sessions along with Chuck Erickson, assistant director of admissions. Haurykiewicz said that students and staff who undergo the 90-minute training will learn “how to intervene with someone in distress, how to persuade someone to seek help, and where to refer someone for professional help.”

QPR training began in 2010 with two certified instructor training sessions. Later that year, those instructors began holding training sessions for students. On its website, the LU Lifeline Project is described as “a comprehensive approach to lowering suicide risk factors and enhancing protective factors, including life skills and social networking, among Lawrence students.” It is funded by the SAMHSA/Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention federal grant, which was awarded to Lawrence in 2009. Kathleen Fuchs, director of Counseling Services, oversees these programs.

Sam Clary ’14, a theatre arts major, participated in the training and reported the best part was “the interactive role-playing we did at the end.” He said, “We got cards that had different situations on them and we had to approach the situations with the procedures we had just learned.”

Clary also said, “I would recommend this to other students. This not only helps people who might have to talk people who are suicidal, but people who are experiencing stress. It definitely can help you change a person’s life.”

Haurykiewicz added, “QPR training allows individuals to intervene and assist those experiencing emotional distress, much like CPR does for medical emergencies.”

To date, Lawrence has trained 21 gatekeeper instructors and 371 faculty, staff and students in QPR methods. According to Haurykiewicz, “96 percent of those trained would recommend QPR training to others.” Students or staff interested in registering for QPR training can do so by visiting the LU Lifeline website.