GREENFIELD — May is Mental Health Awareness Month and thoughts toward the ravages of depression can lead to suicide. How do you identify someone who is considering suicide? And how can you help them? You can start by remembering the letters Q, P, R.
If you are one of the millions who has thought seriously about suicide, you already know how terrible it is to suffer alone.
The QPR Institute - which stands for 'question,' 'persuade,' and 'refer' - is an organization devoted to reducing the number of people who die by suicide.
It could not help 32-year-old Steve Jaberg, who took his own life. Jaberg's cousin, Denise Arland, was not able to help him but has since taken the two-hour long QPR training to assist others in need.
"It is important to be able to intervene and to help them get to help. If you can feel comfortable asking that question, 'are you considering suicide,' 'do you have a plan?'" Denise Arland, Jaberg's cousin, said. "Get them to confide in you, that's the case. You have an opportunity to persuade, them to seek treatment and to refer them to local resources and that is what QPR is all about."
QPR training is critically important because suicides are increasing.
"It is the second leading cause of death for youth 15 to 34 years of age," Amanda Everidge, Health Community manager, said. "It is in the top ten causes of death nationwide. It is preventable; it is absolutely preventable."
Arland knows that now and misses her cousin desperately. In its videos, the QPR Institute is recruiting people like Arland.
"We must learn to talk comfortably about suicide," Everidge said. "We need your help to start the conversation. Join us in the fight."
For those who are interested, there will be a public and free QPR training session at Hancock Regional Hospital from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on May 23rd.