With a special focus on warning signs in psychosis, the course includes training in the QPR intervention (how to Question, Persuade, and Refer someone who may be at risk of suicide), which is designed to achieve four outcomes:
Early recognition of signs of distress, including suicide warning signs
Early intervention and referral
The course also training in a brief edition of the Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM) best practice registered training program. Both program descriptions can be found at: http://www.sprc.org/bpr.
Of note, Dr. McClelland and colleagues published the Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Schizophrenia in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in September of 2013. This training program reports and embraces these findings and recommendations.
This is not a train-the-trainer program. Certified QPR Instructors may complete an online training program to learn to teach this program in a classroom. The certificate awarded may be approved for Continuing Education Credits by any number of organizations.
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.
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.
The Washington State Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery funded the development, testing, and delivery of this online training program and its classroom equivalent with the aim to assist communities to recognize and respond effectively to young people who may be experiencing a first episode of psychosis.
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 a 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 2of 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 online 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. To find a Certified QPR Instructor in your area, contact the QPR Institute.
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. However, QPR training 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 review and complete the QPR training as well, as research shows practice enhances skills, retention, and perceived self-confidence and competence to carry out what may be a lifesaving intervention.
Program Background and Purpose
While expert opinion may differ as to what helper competencies are required to assist suicidal youth 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. For this reason alone, new state laws are being passed to improve the capacity of health professionals to respond effectively to suicidal patients.
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 primary mission of the QPR Institute has been to provide technology transfer of evidence-based knowledge into useful skills and helpful interventions for those wishing to assist suicidal persons. The history and source of these 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.
What this training program is not
This training is not a substitute for a college degree in counseling or other mental health 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. The program does not teach suicide risk assessment skills. Suicide risk assessment training is provided in other QPR Institute programs.
Participants may be adolescents and adults.
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 interactive and e-learning technologies, the QPR for Psychosis training program provides a dynamic introduction to psychosis symptom recognition, suicide risk detection, intervention, means restriction, referral and follow up.
Topics covered include early symptom onset, hallucinations, delusions, disordered thought, schizophrenia, bi-polar disease, treatment, and many other subjects.
Individual certificate pricing:
Certificate of Course Completion (2 hours)
Thank you for helping to prevent suicide.
Continuing Education Credit
Our courses should qualify for continuing education for most professions.
Counselors: The QPR Institute is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. The ACEP solely is
responsible for all aspects of the program.
Nurses: Varies with state or organizational membership.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for complimentary review access.