Suicide Prevention Series: QPR training gives school district staff confidence to help students

Local News

They became "gatekeepers," who know what to look for and how to direct someone in need to the proper help

(WYTV) – 33 WYTV News and our sister stations across Ohio are partnering with the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation this week to bring you stories of hope and stories of help.

On Tuesday, we discussed ways to recognize the signs that someone might be suicidal and what those symptoms are.

Last night, we talked about QPR training, which stands for Question, Persuade and Refer. It teaches techniques to recognize and help someone in crisis.

Tonight, we talk to a local school district about the benefit of having QPR-trained staff in the building.

“According to the CDC, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10- to 24-year-olds… second leading cause of death,” said Joe Rawson, director of education with the Family Recovery Center in Lisbon.

The Family Recovery Center is offering QPR training, teaching techniques to recognize, prevent and get help to people in danger of suicide.

The trained are called “gatekeepers” and Rawson is working to get more into the area’s schools.

“Anywhere that you are working with people, it would be extremely beneficial to have this program, just for the awareness and to know what to do,” said Morgan Pallo, psychologist for East Liverpool City Schools.

Pallo helped bring the training to the schools. Staff in the district took part in QPR training last month.

“I felt like there was a lot of relief that they had finally been given the tools to finally be able to have those hard conversations,” Pallo said.

How long until the training helped them help students? Not long at all.

“Almost immediately after. I think that it gave the teachers the confidence. They might have had a few students in the back of their mind that they had been worried about. I really think that QPR, the training, gave them the confidence to tell the right people and make those referrals happen,” Pallo said.

Gatekeepers learn what to look for and how to direct someone in need to the proper help.

In kids and young adults, it’s important to be attentive to sudden changes.

“Situations do cause people to go through even a situational depression that might be really bad and if they don’t have those problem-solving skills, they might not know how to get out of that,” Pallo said.

Big life moments can lead to struggles, things adults may view as just “part of life.” Things like a breakup, a divorce or a death in the family, even troubled friendships. These things aren’t always handled well by younger individuals. Sometimes the “acting out” that follows such events is actually a signal for help.

“I think that sometimes we brush them under the rug like, ‘Oh, they’re just being dramatic. They’re just doing it for attention.’ But I think if they know the true risk, these situations should never be taken lightly. I think it would be hugely beneficial for our kids and their parents to have that understanding,” Pallo said.

Pallo urges other school districts that haven’t done such training to do so. Other workplaces should also consider going through the training.

The skills learned could be valuable in any relationship you have, personal or professional. The more people who learn to recognize the warning signs and are equipped with the skills to help, the better off we will all be.

If you or someone you know is struggling, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255. If you prefer texting, the Crisis Text Line can be reached by texting 741-741.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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