Suicide is a growing problem across the country. Although Indiana is ranked 25th in the United States for our number of suicides, we still have many hurting neighbors. In an effort to close the gap between depression, suicidal inclination, and outright crisis, Hancock County offers QPR training at its Healthy365 Connection Center. “Question, Persuade, Refer” is designed to help anyone (not just clinical staff) identify and aid someone traveling the path toward taking their own lives.
Located on North State Street in Greenfield, Indiana, the center is a brick-and-mortar environment dedicated to providing help to those suffering from mental distress and addiction. The main goal of navigators on staff is to connect those in need with applicable resources. Although it is not a crisis center, Healthy365 can connect those seeking resources for suicide or suicide prevention with the appropriate services on their pathway toward healing.
According to Amanda Hinkle, Healthy Community Manager and System of Care Coordinator for Healthy365 as well as a certified QPR trainer, Healthy365 brilliantly lives out its name. “Connecting people to resources is key. That is the whole point of the Healthy365 Connection Center. When people are struggling, they don’t know where to start, so the Connection Center is intended to be that place,” she explains.
Hinkle’s organization has trained 1,600 Hancock County residents in the QPR method of suicide prevention. QPR is geared to save lives, similar to CPR but with mental/emotional intervention instead of physical. This training, open to anyone aged 18 and older, has been taught to school staff, parents, first responders, wardens, employers, human resources workers, and more. Everyone should receive this training, as you never really know who in your life might need your help.
“The point of the training is to empower somebody to feel confident in having those tough discussions, which helps to break the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide,” explains Hinkle.
By removing the stigma of asking tough questions like “Are you thinking about harming yourself?”, QPR training is also opening a space to talk about the problem of suicide within our community. Participants are taught to hold space through persuasion, empathy, and asking open-ended questions that can, perhaps, get the distressed person to open up about what they are going through. Once trainees have a better understanding of the distressed person’s mental state, they can move on to refer them to the appropriate place, whether that be the hospital or a therapist.
Hinkle has advice for parents who haven’t connected their children with suicide prevention. She notes that rates of suicide are on the rise everywhere. In order to help ease this problem within our particular community, she suggests that parents take the training. Even if their own children never need this help, their children’s friends or other loved ones may at some point reach a mental crisis.
QPR training is currently offered virtually, and registration takes place online. You can also contact the Healthy365 Connection Center through its website or by calling (317) 468-4231. Training sessions are held quarterly, with the next one beginning on May 11, 2021. After that, they will be held on August 11 and November 11. The training is free and open to the public at large; you will receive a helpful booklet as part of the training. By taking the short time to learn the QPR method to help someone who is mentally distressed, you may one day save a life. Enroll in this comprehensive suicide prevention program today and learn how to offer hope to a person in need.