More frequent QPR suicide prevention programs offered at HUB and GSC
By Mo Juenger | Staff Writer
Xavier Wellbeing will now offer an increased number of opportunities for QPR training, a program which strives to give students the tools to assist those who may be considering suicide.
QPR, an acronym for “Question, Persuade, Refer,” is a free program that is intended to help a lay person recognize the warning signs of suicide and learn how to intervene in a suicide situation.
The training at Xavier was piloted in November and has been expanded for the coming semester. Now, a training session will be held on the fourth Wednesday of every month, alternating locations between Gallagher Student Center (GSC) and the Health United Building (HUB).
This program comes in part from Xavier’s partnership with the Jed Foundation as a way to strengthen campus awareness and response to substance abuse, mental health and suicide prevention.
Six staff members learned how to lead a QPR training session in March 2019, and the number of QPR-certified students and staff members has continued to rise since their certification.
The number of students and faculty who have completed the training nears 50.
“I do have experience with dealing with suicide, so knowing that (QPR training) is a resource for not only students but faculty as well is really enlightening,” Jillian Dodel, a clinical mental health counseling graduate student, said. “It makes me feel good that the school I chose to come to prioritizes this.”
Wellbeing Coach and Coordinator Kaity Rowe, who spearheaded the project, explained that the training centers around three steps which can be applied to a suicide-related incident.
“First you learn how to ask the question, which can be really scary to ask someone if they are feeling suicidal… The second step is then trying to persuade the person to try to get help, learning the language you can use to try to convince someone not to die by suicide and not to attempt… Lastly, there’s the referral, and the best way is to take someone directly, but you can also help them set up an appointment.”
For many students, this training also has very practical and vital implications in their life or future career.
“I actually lost someone because I didn’t know I could ask the question,” clinical mental health counseling graduate student and Wellbeing Peer Educator Mrudula Josyula said.
After going through the training, Josyula understands how much of a difference asking a question can make.
“When you ask that question, you know that someone else is thinking about you. You’re not alone,” she said.
The program also aims to educate both students and faculty on the nature of suicide, an important step in raising awareness and recognition of mental health on Xavier’s campus.
“At Xavier, even though it’s such a small and close community, people are still suffering. There’s no harm in asking the question and making the difference,” Josyula said.
Rowe also expressed broader goals for the QPR training. She hopes it will soon be integrated into various mandatory programs on campus, such as GOA, Manresa, CORE100 classes and Intro to Psychology classes.
“QPR helps reduce that stigma… and if we can use that word and normalize that word in a way that we can talk about it without shame, that would really move the needle in terms of risk,” Rowe echoed.
The next QPR training is today from 1:00-2:30 p.m. in room 103 of the HUB. The link to sign up is available on XU Announcements.