In addition to basic QPR training and screening for suicide risk, and required special attention to “assessment of issues related to imminent harm via lethal means” this course also includes an introductory lecture on the size and scope of suicide and the burden of suffering, a best-practice registered training in Counseling on Access to Lethal Means, basic helping skills for assisting suicidal patients, and how to communicate effectively with those who have attempted suicide and those who have lost a loved one to suicide.
For learners 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.
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 or Google the name of your country and "suicide rate." Some data is quite old, so remember that suicide rates need 5 to 10 year horizons to be of much value as to interpreting any changes in trend lines.
While our research team is still exploring actual pharmacist encounters with suicidal patients, we know that suicidal people often telegraph their suicidal intent or desire to professionals during conversations in the professional's workplace. A red flag is raised, and a probe about suicide might be appropriate, for any of the following presentations:
- A woman shows evidence of a recent cutting injury on her wrist and is seeking an antibiotic and bandaging material.
- A young man filling a prescription reports a single car crash with no passengers on board and says, "Next time I will be going faster."
- A depressed older farmer refiling an expensive antidepressant prescription says, "At the price of this medicine I'd be better off dead."
- A college student reports he is flunking out of school, and on picking up his prescription asks, "Is this enough medicine to kill a person?"
Please note that observation of what appear to be self-injury wounds, e.g., multiple cigarette burns, shallow skin lacerations, and other suspicious injuries may not have been inflicted with suicidal intent, but rather are evidence of what is called non-suicidal self-injury.
A good probe for non-suicidal self-injury is, “Were you feeling suicidal when this injury occurred?”
If a suicide risk probe into any of the above scenarios results in a positive finding for suicidal ideation or a recent attempt, the patient should receive a comprehensive suicide risk assessment as soon as possible.
What we are about
The QPR Institute has four goals. These are to:
Raise public awareness about suicide and its prevention.
Provide low-cost, evidence-based training to prevent suicide.
Provide advanced 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 patients, students, and employees through a systems approach to suicide risk reduction.
As of this writing in 2017, the Institute has trained more than 2.5 million gatekeepers worldwide. In addition, thousands of clinical health care providers have been trained in how to detect, assess, manage, and treat suicidal consumers.
If this sounds like an "army" of people helping to prevent suicide, it is. Now, with your help, we will create a new division in that army of educated, trained pharmacists to help prevent suicide around the globe.
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. For this reason alone, new state laws are being passed to improve the capacity of health professionals to respond effectively to suicidal patients.
The history and source of the institute's training programs are 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 know that pharmacists are in frequent contact with at-risk populations. In our view, they need to know as much about suicidal behaviors and how to intervene to reduce risk and enhance safety as is reasonably possible. Learning to recognize and respond to possible suicide warning signs, and how to facilitate a competent referral and follow-up, is key to preventing suicide.
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 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 interactive and e-learning technologies, the QPR for occupational therapists training program provides a dynamic introduction to suicide risk detection, intervention, means restriction, referral and follow up.
Participants who complete this course should be able to:
Understand suicide as a major public health problem
Understand the common myths and facts surrounding suicide
Identify unique verbal, behavioral, and situational suicide warning signs
Recognize and screen someone at risk of suicide
Know how to inquire about suicidal intent and desire
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, self-efficacy and intent to act to intervene with suicidal people and patients
Know how to engage and assist a suicidal colleague or co-worker
Describe "means restriction" and life-saving action steps
Know materials, phone numbers, and patient/family information to provide at discharge or point of care site
Describe the US National Strategy for Suicide Prevention
Understand the nature of suicide and describe at least one theory of suicidal behavior
Describe and locate major suicide prevention web sites and online resources
Demonstrate increased knowledge about suicide and its causes
Engage in an interactive and helpful conversation with someone who has attempted suicide
Engage in an interactive and helpful conversation with the loved ones or family members of someone who has died by suicide
Describe clinical groups at high risk for suicide - optional video lecture
Individual certificate pricing:
Certificate of Course Completion (6 hours)
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.
Physicians: Application for CME pending.
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.