QPR Suicide Prevention Training Courses

QPR for Psychosis


Approximately 3 out of every 100 people worldwide will experience a psychotic episode at some stage during their lifetime. Psychotic disorders affect people of all races, cultures, religions, and socioeconomic classes.  

Psychosis Is Treatable. Early Intervention Means Better Outcomes.

Psychotic illnesses seldom appear out of the blue. Most commonly, they develop gradually over months or years. Usually a first episode of psychosis occurs in adolescence or early adulthood, which is a critical time for long-term psychological, emotional, social, and vocational development. The onset of psychosis is typically a distressing and disruptive experience for both the affected individual and their family. Because symptoms often worsen and become entrenched over time, treatment is generally most effective and benign in the earliest stages of illness. Learn more about the importance of Early Psychosis Idenficiation at: www.dshs.wa.gov/GetHelpEarly

Community Awareness Can Help Remove Barriers to Treatment.

Many factors can contribute to delays in initiating appropriate treatment: failure to recognize that something is wrong, lack of understanding of psychosis, and stigma associated with mental illness. Even when an affected individual or family does seek appropriate help, delays in diagnosis and treatment may result from gaps in knowledge and skills in healthcare professionals regarding the detection and treatment of first episode psychosis.  

The QPR for Psychosis training program is two-hour, two-part online course designed to teach lay and professional persons how to recognize the onset of what may be a serious mental illness in youth. Since serious mental illnesses are associated with increased risk for suicidal behaviors, including death by suicide, the second part of this training program will teach participants how to recognize and respond effectively to what may be a developing suicide crisis.  

This training first addresses both the recognition of possible warning signs of the onset of First Episode Psychosis (FEP), followed by a best practice training program entitled QPR Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention. 

Things to keep in mind as you take this training program

While our main focus in this training program is on youth at risk for suicide by reason of the onset of a possible psychotic illness, here are several points to consider as you go through the course:

  • Most people who have a mental illness do not become suicidal, but most suicidal people are suffering from a mental illness
  • Most young people who have psychotic-like symptoms - on competent diagnosis - do not have a psychotic illness
  • If we correctly diagnose and treat the mental illness causing the symptoms, suicide risk is greatly diminished and recovery is possible
  • Among people with a psychotic illness only 5-10% percentage go on to die by suicide

A note about QPR gatekeeper training: 


  • QPR training was originally developed specifically to detect persons who may be thinking about suicide or planning a suicide attempt.
  • QPR has evolved into a universal intervention to identify and confirm the presence of psychological distress for any reason.
  • The Q (question) in QPR often detects the early onset of a mental illness that needs diagnosis and treatment, and includes persons who may be experiencing psychotic symptoms. 


 Please note: If you have already completed QPR training, you may wish to complete only first part of this training program.  However, we recommend that you complete the QPR training as well, as research shows review and practice enhance skills, retention, and perceived self-confidence and competence to carry out what may be a lifesaving intervention. 

Your role is important

Since you are taking this course you are likely already in a role to be a trained observer. A trained observer, or gatekeeper, is someone in an existing strategic position with at-risk populations to be able recognize and identify potential symptoms of the onset of an illness or a suicide crisis.  You may already be functioning in a role which requires you to be on the lookout for symptoms of substance misuse, child abuse, and symptoms of physical illness, e.g., fever, rash, and jaundice. This course will teach how to identify signs and symptoms of what may be a developing life-threatening medical crisis.  

Your role as a trained observer is critical.  Consider that the survival rate for not-in-hospital cardiac arrest is less than 10% in most major American cities. But in Seattle, Washington the survival rate is 62%.  Why? Because 1 in 4 adults in King County has been trained in CPR and in how to recognize possible signs of a developing heart attack.  Quick, decisive action to start chest compressions in persons who may be experiencing a heart attack initiates the "chain of survival" allowing medical rescue teams to arrive on scene and take next steps to ensure early medical care.

The same is true for those with developing symptoms of possible psychosis; quick action to recognize and refer those at possible risk can lead to early diagnosis and early treatment to assure the best possible medical outcomes, including the prevention of a suicide attempt.

Early is always better than later

Throughout medicine, the earlier a problem is recognized and effective treatment begun, the better the long term functioning and survival.  Psychosis is treatable. Early effective treatment opens the path to recovery and wellbeing and, as a result, lessens the risk that the person will attempt suicide. 

According the National Institutes of Health, an estimated 95% of those who die by suicide are suffering from an unknown, untreated, or under-treated serious mental illness.  In addition to major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorder, untreated psychotic illnesses contribute greatly to suicide risk.

Bottom line: the sooner someone experiencing a significant disorder in brain function can be recognized, the sooner treatment can be initiated and the better the outcome for everyone: patient, family, school, and our communities.

Learning goals 

From part 1 of this training program (First Episode Psychosis), participants should be able to:

  •  Understand the nature of psychotic illnesses
  •  Describe the challenge of differential diagnosis in mental health practice
  •  Identify people who may be experiencing symptoms of a psychotic illness
  •  Employ basic helping skills to establish and trusting and helpful relationship
  •  Know how to inquire about symptoms of possible psychosis
  •  Describe emerging best practices in the support of youth experiencing First Episode Psychosis
  •  Assist the youth and his or her family by providing access to trustworthy resources and referrals
  •  Describe at least three evidence-based best practices in the treatment of psychotic disorders

From part 2 of this training program (QPR Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention), participants should be able to: 

  • Understand the common myths and facts surrounding suicide
  • Recognize someone at risk of suicide
  • Demonstrate increased knowledge about suicide and its causes
  • Identify unique verbal, behavioral, and situational suicide warning signs
  • Know how to inquire about suicidal intent and desire
  • Apply QPR with potentially suicidal people
  • Demonstrate QPR intervention skills in a text-only challenge

Please note: this training may be blended with a recommended classroom follow-on learning experience led by a Certified QPR Instructor which will include a chance to ask questions, review the material learned online, and to practice the intervention.