By Rebecca Brandel
The Canisius College Counseling Center is sponsoring QPR training in Old Main on October 16, from 2p.m. to 3:30p.m.
Upon first glance, QPR sounds similar to CPR, and while both are health training, QPR training is for a different kind of health that often goes unrecognized, but is just as important: mental health.
QPR training is designed to increase one’s ability to recognize suicidal thoughts and behaviors in others, and to refer the person who is at risk to a professional resource.
The abbreviation QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer. The steps go as follows: Question the person about suicide, persuade the person to get help, and refer the person to the appropriate resource.
“We want as many members of the Canisius College community to be trained in QPR to create a supportive safety net for students who are at risk for suicide,” said Eileen Niland, Director of the Counseling Center. “Bottom-line, the goal of the QPR program is for people to feel more confident asking someone if they are thinking about suicide.
“Asking someone if they are considering suicide lowers the risk that someone will make an attempt,” Niland continued. “Talking about suicide prevents suicide and cultivates hope. We are working to reduce the stigma of suicidal thinking and mental illness.”
During training, students will become familiar with many different signs that a person is considering suicide. Although many students are taught this in high school health classes, QPR goes beyond this basic training to educate participants on how to then follow up with their concern, and also question the person about whether or not they are considering suicide in such a way that is comfortable for both the person introducing the topic and the person being questioned.
Depending on that person’s response, the training then follows through with methods to persuade the individual to get help and where exactly to refer this person.
“QPR training made me feel like I can make a difference,” said Breyanna Davis, ‘18. “The training is short but it is meaningful, and the Counseling Center sets you up with the right tools to handle these tough situations….Talking about suicide isn’t easy but starting the conversation can save someone in need.”
The class was mandatory for all orientation leaders and was offered once earlier this semester, on Sept. 26.
“I completed QPR training during the orientation leader training,” said a 2017 orientation leader who wished to remain anonymous.
“I found it useful but didn’t anticipate truly needing to put it into action, but the next day I referred a student in my group who raised red flags for me and my co [-orientation leader],” said the student. “I would not have noticed those red flags without QPR training, nor did I realize how much about suicide prevention I thought I knew [but] didn’t know.”
If you are considering applying for QPR training, call 1-800-SUICIDE for advice and direction.
Additional resources include:
Canisius College Counseling Center:
Canisius College Public Safety:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
To register for QPR training, e-mail Ivy Wang at firstname.lastname@example.org.