QPR for School Health Professionals

  • CE Credits: 3.5 - Meets requirements for Washington State law
  • Course Type: Online
  • Course Completion Time: 3-4 hours
  • Price: $89
  • Author: Paul Quinnett, PhD

Course Features

  • Videos
  • Audio
  • Interactive Practice Challenges
  • Thought challenges
  • Interactive Quizzes
  • Surveys
  • Rich Content

Course Description

This training program is for School Health Professionals and is an extended version of the NREPP-listed QPR Gatekeeper Trained for Suicide Prevention best practice program.

This online, multi-media interactive course teaches school social workers, nurses, psychologists and school counselors how to detect, screen, and refer troubled youth identified by you or others in your work setting. This course does not teach suicide risk assessment. If you are tasked with conducting a suicide risk assessment we recommend the QPR Suicide Triage course, or if you are clinician who will carry out a treatment plan which integrates your suicide risk assessment into that plan, we recommend the advanced QPRT Suicide Risk Assessment and Risk Management training program listed here.

The suicide screening and referral method we will teach you in this course, the specific questions you will use to converse with and initially screen a troubled youth, have been asked of more than 100,000 suicidal people to date, many of them while being screened or evaluated for psychiatric hospitalization or in emergency situations. Since inception in 1999, no adverse consequences have been reported for the QPR intervention.


Key elements of this modularized training program were initially developed and tested with a number of crisis centers in the State of Washington under a contract with the Washington State Department of Health and the Youth Suicide Prevention Program.

In this course you will learn QPR, one of the most widely taught suicide prevention gatekeeper training programs in the world.


Suicide rates among young people are unacceptably high.  One death is too many. The need for prevention efforts is great.

Because your school district may be small, it would be a mistake to assume suicide risk is low and training unwarranted.

Small school districts serve rural areas where, sadly, suicide rates are highest and young people die twice as often by their own hand as do their urban counterparts.

Ohio State University researchers looked at 66,000 suicide deaths among youth 10 to 24 years from 1996 to 2010. For this period, the rural youth suicide rate was 20 per 100,000 for males, and four per 100,000 for females, or just twice the rate of urban youth (10 per 100,000 for males and two per 100,000 for females).

Point? Even though your school district is small, risk for youth suicide is far from zero. In fact, it appears twice as high.  Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, Pediatrics, online March 9.

Universal intervention

While the QPR intervention was developed specifically to detect and respond to persons emitting suicide warning signs, QPR has also been more widely applied as a universal intervention for anyone who may be experiencing emotional distress. It has been suggested by independent researchers and federal leadership that originally funded and conducted QPR studies, that the QPR intervention could be useful in a much broader application, and not just for the detection of persons at risk for suicide.

Thus, by learning QPR and applying this screening system in your work, you will likely screen and detect many youth are false positives (not suicidal), but still in need of assistance, assessment, and perhaps intervention and treatment. For example, one can imagine that a youth experiencing a personal crisis may very well send interpersonal distress signals/warning signs and would benefit from help of some kind, but may not be considering suicide as a solution. In fact, most distressed and depressed youth are not considering suicide, but are still in need of help.

When QPR is applied to distressed youth with informed compassion and understanding, the intervention becomes useful for the detection of a wide range of "troubled" behavior, e.g., non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI), perfectionism, eating disturbances, sleep problems, bullying, and other behavioral indices of youth who may be at risk, identified, and treated "upstream" of the onset of suicidal ideation.


Two random clinical trials testing the efficacy of QPR training were conducted in school settings and published by independent research teams from the University of Rochester, thus establishing the following expected outcomes for this training program:

    • Increased declarative knowledge
    • Increased perceived knowledge
    • Increased self-efficacy
    • Increased diffusion of gatekeeper training information
    • Increased gatekeeper skills (ability to engage in active listening, ask clarifying questions, make an appropriate referral)

For a full review of the evidence based for QPR training please visit the National Registry of Evidence-based Practices and Policies at: http://nrepp.samhsa.gov/ViewIntervention.aspx?id=299.

For a description of the Counseling Access to Lethal Means best practice training included in this program visit the registry at: http://www.sprc.org/bpr/section-III/calm-counseling-access-lethal-means

International students please note

Suicide rates for QPR courses are US-specific. To determine suicide rates in your country, please visit the World Health Organization at http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide_rates/en/ .

As you will see, many of these reports are quite dated. If your country keeps such data but does not necessarily report to WHO, try Googling federal, state, or province name and "suicide rate." If you are teaching suicide prevention courses you will need this data; the more local the data the better. But remember that suicide rates need 5 to 10 year horizons to be of much value as to interpreting any changes in trend lines.

The Training Program

This expanded version of QPR Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention includes a number of modules focused on youth at risk, suicide prevention programs for schools, introduction to creating a culture of school safety, how to restrict access to lethal means, a review of helping skills especially effective with suicidal youth, a step-by-step screening and referral process, and a sample return-to-school policy and procedure for suicidal youth who screened positive for suicidal thoughts, feelings, intent, plans and past attempts.


      • Course time required: 3-4+ hours depending on reading speed and how much time the learner chooses to explore web links, bonus modules, and practice the intervention with colleagues.
      • Some school health professionals will be comfortable working with suicidal youth; others may not. The course provides content helpful to those who may not have had much specific training in suicide prevention.
      • The training is applicable to working face-to-face, on the phone, or even in the text-only world of cyberspace, and some of the interactive practice challenges are in text.
      • The final QPR quiz is a 15-item nationally standardized review of the core elements of the QPR program, and is followed by a video review (adult actors) as well as a text-only practice challenge of the screening intervention.

The four primary goals of the QPR Institute are to:

        • Raise public awareness about suicide and its prevention.
        • Provide low-cost, high-tech, effective, basic gatekeeper and intervention skills training to lay persons who may be able to prevent a suicide.
        • Provide suicide prevention and intervention training programs for a variety of professionals and for undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate students preparing for careers in the helping professions.
        • Reduce morbidity and mortality of suicidal persons served by health care, correctional, workplace, hospital and other institutions and settings through a systems approach to suicide risk reduction that enhances first responder and clinical competencies to detect, assess, monitor, manage and treat persons known to be at elevated risk for suicidal behaviors.

Since inception in 1999, the QPR Institute has trained more than 10,000 Certified Gatekeeper Instructors who have, in turn, trained more than one million gatekeepers worldwide (an ongoing count of gatekeepers trained can be found on our home page at: www.qprinstitute.com.. In addition, thousands of clinical health care providers have been trained in how to detect, assess, and manage suicidal consumers.

If this sounds like an "army" of people helping to prevent suicide, it is. Now, with your help as school social workers, nurses, counselors and psychologists, we will create a new division in that army of professionals trained to help prevent youth suicide.

Program Background and Purpose

While expert opinion may differ as to what helper competencies are required to assist suicidal persons achieve the most beneficial outcomes, little controversy exists about the lack of qualified manpower to help the thousands of people who think about, attempt and sometimes die by suicide.

Even among licensed professionals there is a serious lack of systematic training in how to a) detect suicide risk, b) assess immediate risk for suicidal behaviors and c) provide helpful crisis mitigation services to suicidal persons.

The history and source of the Institute's training programs is derived from earlier research and development work in partnership with Washington State University, The Washington Institute for Mental Health Research, the Washington State Youth Suicide Prevention Program, Spokane Mental Health (now Frontier Behavioral Health), and Spokane County Regional Health District.

We believe that crisis volunteers, first responders, 911 and 211 professionals, school health professionals, case managers, emergency services professionals, corrections professionals as well as many others in frequent contact with at risk populations need to know as much about suicidal behaviors and how to intervene to reduce risk and enhance safety as do trained mental health professionals.

To this end, the online program you are about to take is intended to train you in the knowledge and skills you will need to provide competent services in suicide risk detection, initial intervention, and how to immediately mitigate the risk of a suicide attempt.

What this training program is not

This training is not a substitute for a college degree in counseling or other helping profession, nor can it provide the face-to-face supervised experience those in the helping professions are provided in the course of their professional career development.

This knowledge and skill-based training program teaches recognition and response skills limited to identification, detection of potential risk through a standardized screening process, and referral and follow-up methods supported by rigorous research.

      • Participants must be at least 18 years of age
      • If employed by, or volunteering for, an organization, participants agree to accept all expectations and employment rules of their parent organization. The QPR Institute does not vet or otherwise qualify students for this course.

The Training Program

Modularized in a rich mix of text, video, voice-over PowerPoint™ lectures, interactive practice sessions, and other state-of-the-art e-learning technologies, the QPR for School Health Professionals certificate awarded at the end of the program requires completing all online modules and passing required knowledge quizzes.  Additional classroom practice sessions and downloadable role-plays with instructions are strongly recommended.

Goals and Objectives:

      • Describe the size and scope of the problem of youth suicide in America
      • Identify key elements of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.
      • Describe three program options/interventions for reducing youth suicide attempts and completions.
      • Describe the implications for training and practice in the screening and referral or care of at-risk youth.
      • Describe QPR theory and a systems approach to creating safer schools for at-risk youth.
      • Describe the research which supports particular interpersonal approaches most effective with suicidal youth
      • Apply basic intervention skills to case-based scenarios
      • Immediately reduce the acute distress, despair, and hopelessness of suicidal youth through an empathic, understanding screening interview in which protective factors can be brought into play to create a safety and referral plan to reduce the risk of a suicide attempt
      • Recognize someone at risk for suicide
      • Demonstrate increased knowledge of intervention skills
      • Describe knowledge of referral resources and how to refer someone to help
      • Understand suicide as a national and local public health problem
      • Understand the common myths and facts surrounding suicidal behavior
      • Describe the relationship of untreated clinical depression and other mental illnesses and substance abuse to increased suicide risk
      • Understand means restriction and how to immediately reduce risk
      • Recognize and identify three risk factors for suicide
      • Recognize and identify three protective factors against suicide
      • Demonstrate how to ask about potential suicidal desire or intent (in role-play)
      • Demonstrate how to listen and persuade someone to get help (in role-play)
      • Demonstrate how to make a referral for professional assistance (in role-play)
      • Describe community and national resources and how to access them
      • Explain why reducing access to lethal means is an effective way of saving lives
      • Describe the role of impulsivity, ambivalence, and differing lethality of methods in contributing to suicide deaths and attempts
      • Describe how counseling on access to lethal means fits into suicide prevention counseling
      • Ask your students about their access to lethal means and work to reduce access


By completing this training program participants are awarded the QPR for School Health Professionals certificate.

NOTE: If you intend to purchase more than one course, please contact Dana Zavala at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." data-hovercard-owner-id="110">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Individual Certificate Pricing:

  Pricing Bulk APA or NBCC Continuing Education Credits

Certificate of Course Completion (3-4 hours)

$79 per person

10+ @ $69 per person


For any questions with pricing, please contact Brian Quinnett @ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you for helping to prevent suicide.



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National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)
QPR Institute (QPRI) has been approved by NBCC as an
Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 5889.
Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified.
QPRI is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

Note: Since many professions have their own continuing education credentialing and certification processes, please submit the course description and required hours to complete to your own accrediting body for approval. Or, we are happy to provide reviewer access to any of these courses to make their own determinations.

Reviewer Access and for questions about CEs: Please contact Brian Quinnett, National Training Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for complimentary review access.