The focus of this course is on male veterans. However, according to a recent report by the Veterans Administration, female veterans are dying by suicide at six times the rate of their civilian counterparts. Thus, the aim of this course is to assist all vets, with a particular focus on helping those helping veterans. The knowledge and skills taught in this course will also apply to active duty personnel. Of note, this course has been thoroughly vetted and reviewed by veterans and is taught by a veteran.
Here's what a few vets have said about this course:
It was written by someone who nailed it on the head.
Reading the statements by "Gunny" really helped with this training. (Gunny is a combat Marine Corps veteran contributor to the course)
The focus on veterans and the way veterans in crisis are framed in a more positive light.
This training program includes Level I QPR Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention, the most researched, tested, and evaluated universal suicide intervention program available today. The QPR intervention has been taught to more than 1.5 million people, both in the classroom and online. If you are interested in teaching QPR in the classroom, please contact Kathy White at the QPR Institute.
This course requires a minimum of six hours of work and study. We don't apologize for its length. When you are trying to prevent veteran suicide, you need to know what you need to know to take actions that will save a life.
We think you need to know what we will teach you in this training program.
Three large random clinical trials have been published on the effectiveness of the QPR intervention, one of which was conducted in vet centers all across the US. Random trials are the gold standard for evidence of effectiveness. Please see the official listing and description at: http://www.nrepp.samhsa.gov/ViewIntervention.aspx?id=299.
Why this course?
The goal of this training program is to teach you to help prevent a suicide, whether it is a family member, a friend, a co-worker or battle buddy. If you are a vet or active military yourself, and you've had thoughts of suicide, this course can help you, too. You will find my free e-book Suicide: the Forever Decision at the end of this course and most everyone who reads it finds it valuable. It is included in this course so that you can read it and share it with others however you like.
Frankly, we're sick and tired of seeing 22 vets a day die by their own hand. It is simply not acceptable.
If you are veteran, or will be one day, research has shown that veterans are at greater risk for suicide than non-veterans. This additional risk load is carried by both men and women. This includes those deployed to theaters of war and those who never left the states. In fact, suicide among veterans is often misunderstood in that most people believe that soldiers deployed during wartime, and especially to combat, would have higher rates of suicide.
Not so. Deployment seems to have no effect on suicide rates. According the Mark Reger of Joint Base Lewis-McCord in Tacoma, Washington, lead author on an important study of 3.9 million service members in active or reserve duty during our most recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, suicide rates between those deployed and those who never left the states were almost identical.
What did impact rates was leaving the service. Whereas those who remained in uniform had a suicide rate of 15 per 100,000, those who returned to civilian life experienced a suicide rate of 26 per 100,000, and those who left service after less than a year of service had a rate of 48 deaths per 100,000.
(For those unfamiliar with rates of death per 100,000, imagine a football stadium filled with 100,000 veterans on January 1st. One year later, on the next January 1st, 26 of them will have died by suicide.)
Early separation from service is often a sign of something else, e.g., difficulty adjusting to military life, or having entered the service with undetected risk factors for suicide, such as drug or alcohol abuse or a mood disorder.
While some vets are at higher risk for suicide than others, a single veteran lost to suicide is one too many.
According to research published by Kaplan and his colleagues in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health in June 2007, “Veterans in the general U.S. population, whether or not they are affiliated with the VA, are at an elevated risk of suicide."
But please note.
Despite these findings, the vast majority of veterans are healthy, well-functioning people and are not at increased risk for suicide. Because of their training, experience, psychological and physical screening and conditioning, veterans and active military personnel are among the most mentally fit adults in the world.
But military life, and especially combat, can prove extremely stressful. Even returning to civilian life can prove more challenging than many soldiers imagined. Some reading this letter may experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress and, while this is not the place to go into this subject, experiencing serious post- traumatic stress is associated with increased risk for suicidal thoughts and feelings. This course will cover both Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Disorder (TBI) and their contribution to suicide risk.
The most common causes for thinking about suicide among veterans include the onset of symptoms of serious depression, drinking too heavily, insomnia, and relationship breakups – especially if all of these occur together. These are the "usual suspects" that drive hopelessness, suicidal desire, thinking, planning, and even suicide attempts.
The QPR Institute, its staff and faculty are concerned about the health and welfare of the fighting men and women who have served this country in war and in peacetime. While this training is designed primarily to help you help someone you know, it is also designed to help you help yourself. We have provided links to a variety of helpful resources designed and intended to be used by you and your loved ones in case you need them.
The Staff and Faculty of the QPR Institute
Reference: http://bit.ly/1BMzKsh JAMA Psychiatry, online April 1, 2015.
A personal note from the course author
I am a veteran (US Army 1960-1963, assignment in Asia). My two brothers are veterans. The youngest served a combat tour in Vietnam in 1968 during the Tet Offensive and experienced war as many of you or maybe a loved one has. After coming home he struggled with PTSD, depression, and alcohol but made it through and is now doing fine. But for many years, we worried about him and about his safety.
My father fought in World War II and my great grandfather served in the Civil War as a member of the 16th Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment where he fought in battles from Shiloh to Vicksburg to Atlanta.
All my uncles fought in WW II; Air Force, Navy and Army. One uncle was killed in combat in Italy.
I tell you this because I am proud of my family and proud to have served this great country of ours. I also tell you this because when I learn that another veteran died by suicide I take it personally.
Death in combat is not always avoidable, suicide is. Together we must all learn what to do to prevent suicide and how to do it quickly and well. Learning QPR is one step forward.
Be well, be safe, and enjoy this training program.
Paul Quinnett, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Major Course Elements
In addition to basic QPR training, this course also includes information on suicide risk among veterans, a best-practice registered training in Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM), basic helping skills for assisting suicidal vets, and how to communicate effectively with those vets who have attempted suicide and those who have lost a loved one to suicide.
For learners - especially clinicians, chaplains, medical providers, and mental health professionals - interested in advanced training in how to conduct a suicide risk assessment, formulate and document assessed risk, and manage risk over time please see the QPRT or QPR Suicide Triage training programs.
For organizations seeking to achieve "zero suicide" the QPR Institute offers a comprehensive, integrated systems approach to suicide risk reduction for all levels of organizational structure, including all clinical providers, support staff, patients, and families. Please visit our home web page for more information.
From this 4-hour QPR for Vets training program participants should be able to:
Understand suicide as a major public health problem
Describe warrior psychology
Learn alternatives to waiting for veterans to ask for help
Better understand military culture
Describe how Social Network Theory can be applied to preventing suicide
Explain the role of PTSD and TBI on suicide risk in veterans
Understand the common myths and facts surrounding suicide
Recognize at least three suicide warning signs
Recognize at least three risk factors for suicide
Recognize at least three protective factors against suicide
Demonstrate increased knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy in how to interact with veterans
Identify verbal, behavioral, and situational suicide warning signs unique to veterans and military personnel
Know how to engage and assist a suicidal veterans using the QPR intervention
Know how to reduce access to the means of suicide
Demonstrate increased knowledge about suicide and its causes
Describe current effective treatments for at-risk veterans
Understand the nature of suicide and describe at least one theory of suicidal behavior
Identify major suicide prevention web sites and online resources for veterans and active military