MOUNT VERNON — A special training called QPR Gatekeeper Suicide Training will be held Thursday from 1 to 5:30 p.m. at The Dan Emmett Conference Center. This training is for people interested in helping the community through learning about ways to reach out to people in crisis who may be contemplating suicide.
The rise in local suicides over the past two years has prompted the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Knox County to look for ways to educate the public about the warning signs of suicide.
Many on the coalition are those personally touched by suicide. Marge Armstong, a member of the Hospice of Knox County board of directors, is one of those coalition members.
“I had some friends who lost a friend to suicide,” Armstrong explained. After her granddaughter died of meningitis a few years ago, she said she had an even greater understanding of the grief which strikes a family when they lose someone young, and in an untimely way.
Armstrong said when Gordon “Dusty” Frazier of the Snyder Funeral Homes approached her about the training, which has been held in other counties in Ohio with great success, she was enthusiastic about helping to bring the training to the county.
“He called me and asked me if I would help because I thought this is a very important subject,” Armstrong said. “It [suicide] just breaks my heart. It’s such a permanent solution to temporary problems.”
Jonathan Rideout will present the training to police officers, clergy members, foremen, doctors, firefighters, counselors, nurses, caseworkers, supervisors, bartenders, hair stylists, funeral directors and any lay people interested in the training.
Rideout is the executive director and co-founder of Make A Difference For Kids Inc., after performing three funeral services for teens in his community who had taken their own lives
His mission is to spread the message of suicide prevention not only to teens, but to all who will listen.
Gatekeepers are any community member who is in a position to recognize a crisis, and the warning signs that someone may be thinking about suicide.
QPR stands for Question, Persuade and Refer — three simple steps that anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Just as many in the community are trained in CPR, coalition members hope many will take the steps to learn QPR.
Those attending the training will learn to recognize the warning signs of suicide and how to ask the questions which will help someone feel safe to reveal the fact they may be contemplating suicide.
Beside facts about suicide and suicide prevention, gatekeepers are also trained in what resources are available immediately to help someone in crisis.
The training is worth four continuing education units to professionals seeking continuing education credit. There is a cost, payable at the door.