The World Health Organization observes World Mental Health Day on October 10, as a day to bring attention to mental health issues around the globe. Starting in 2018, the Pro Bono Counseling Project has commemorated the day by facilitating a Question, Persuade, Refer suicide prevention training for students, faculty, and staff at the University of Maryland, Baltimore through the Interprofessional Student Learning Initiative.  PBCP Executive Director, Amy Greensfelder, will again facilitate a training for the UMB community on Thursday, October 10, 2019.

The QPR method is a brief intervention that can be taught to anyone who has contact with people at risk for suicide. Trainees are taught how to identify the warning signs and risk factors for suicide and suicidal ideation, and are then trained on how to sensitively ask if the person they are concerned about is contemplating suicide, and are taught how to connect the person to appropriate resources.

The training was originally developed as an intervention for older adults in rural isolated areas of the Pacific Northwest. Mail carriers were initially trained, as they were often the most consistent visitors to the older adults. A significant drop in suicide was seen, and QPR has since been expanded and adapted for diverse audiences around the world. There are specific training modules for youth, Native Americans, refugees, first responders, and other populations.

Amy has been certified as a QPR trainer since 2015 and has led more than 20 trainings. She shared, “When I facilitate this training, participants are often nervous at first—they don’t know what to expect, and suicide is such a taboo– many people have never talked about it in a direct way. As the training goes on, the participants open up, and share how their lives have been touched by suicide, and often ask about common misconceptions. It truly is an honor to be part of a program that saves lives.”

PBCP staff are available to offer QPR training to your group. Contact the PBCP office at 410.825.1001 if you are interested in learning more.

Established in 1991, the Pro Bono Counseling Project’s mission is to ensure that Marylanders with limited resources requesting mental health care are provided access to volunteer licensed mental health professionals and other necessary supportive services.  If you’d like to support PBCP, please click here to make an online gift.