CCHD to mark Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month with QPR trainings

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, September 12, 2023

In a month of recognizing public health concerns, one that can unfortunately go unrecognized is getting the attention it needs.

As a part of Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, the Clark County Health Department is hosting seven training sessions designed to make people aware of warning signs and what actions to take next.

“One way the Clark County Health Department has decided to show its support is through these QPR trainings,” said Jessi Burns, Health Education Specialist with Clark County Health Department.

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QPR is an acronym standing for “Question, Persuade, Refer”.

According to the website, the mission of the three steps emphasized is to “reduce suicidal behaviors and save lives by providing innovative, practical and proven suicide prevention training.”

Advocates have compared it to doing for individuals suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts what CPR – or cardiopulmonary resuscitations – has done for individuals battling cardiac concerns.

The concern for Burns, who comes to Winchester after spending time in northern Utah, is sadly all too familiar.

“Utah has really high rates of suicide, especially among their teen and adolescent population,” she said. “I worked in universities. That’s where I’ve seen [QPR training] at play the most is on college campuses.”

As the website of the QPR Institute points out, surveys have shown that – except for psychiatrists or select others – adequate training for specific suicide interventions or treatment could be lacking.

Thus, with proper training, individuals – even those not in the medical profession – can be more aware of potential warning signs that someone may be at risk of suicide.

“We try to teach people what a mental health crisis looks like [and] some of the symptoms someone will exhibit when they are contemplating suicide or suicidal ideation,” Burns said. “[It teaches] what to do and what to say in that situation if they do start opening up to you and how you can persuade them to not make that decision and then refer them to someone that can help them.”

As explained, some suicidal deaths – which sadly statistically increased in the aftermath of COVID-19 – may be misdiagnosed or be a factor unmentioned in other cases.

“Especially during COVID, these numbers really started to climb. Not just suicide, but we’ve noticed mental health declining over the last few years,” Burns said. “In an effort to try to [reduce] numbers, QPR was one of the programs that we turned to.”

In addition to QPR training, there may be other ways to help.

“There are also a lot of really great organizations that you can be involved in that happen in and even around Suicide [Prevention and] Awareness Month,” Burns added.

Among nearby events are the Out of the Darkness Walks associated with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

“We’re always happy when people reach out to us…we’ll find a place for people to do the best work that they can, ”Burns said. “Be a good neighbor. Be a good citizen. Ask people how they’re doing and be prepared to listen.”

The list of suicide prevention classes featuring QPR training and their time and location are provided below. Contact Jessica Burns via email at or call (859) 744-1488 to reserve a spot:

• Sept. 13, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. (400 Professional Ave.)

• Sept. 18, 6-8 p.m. (273 Shoppers Dr.)

• Sept. 20, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. (273 Shoppers Dr.)

• Sept. 21, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. (273 Shoppers Dr.)

• Sept. 26, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. (273 Shoppers Dr.)

• Sept. 29, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. (273 Shoppers Dr.)