Rural Health Scholars Train Students in Suicide Prevention

Published: January 07, 2019 | Author: Andrew Brown | Read Time: 2 minutes

Teacher in front of classroomSuicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, with Utah ranked 5th in the country for suicide death rate. With such alarming numbers, Southern Utah University’s  Rural Health Scholars (RHS) decided it was time to get involved.

Ryan Lofthouse, a senior pre-med student with RHS, organized and facilitated a Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) Training for all first year RHS students. QPR is an emergency mental health intervention designed to help those struggling with suicidal ideation.

“I got an internship at Southwest Behavioral Health Center in Suicide prevention,” said Lofthouse. “They trained me in QPR, and I thought the opportunity to help prevent suicide among the youth in this area would be a really meaningful experience. Now I have been able to help teach classes to faculty at several local schools, college students, and adults in the community.”

Suicide is the leading preventable cause of death, which is why RHS students are taking action. QPR teaches people how to recognize the warning signs, and though it is not a form of counseling or treatment, it has already made changes in places where it is being taught. It has often been thought that talking about suicide puts the idea in someone’s head, but that is not the case. QPR training encourages friends and family of those struggling with suicidal ideation to question the person struggling and try to rekindle hope without rushing to judgment.  

“I absolutely love this training program,” said Samuel Stewart, a sophomore biology major who is QPR-trained. “I think this needs to be taught nationwide to every single person. I went through QPR training in high school and it helped me get help for a friend that almost took his own life. I owe so much to this kind of training.”

“As a suicide survivor, it is nice to see that people actually care and go through training to help others out,” said another student who has gone through the training with RHS who wishes to remain anonymous.

Often times those with suicidal thoughts think they cannot be helped, but a friend or loved one can use QPR to persuade them to get help. There are additional resources in Cedar City...

It is time to step up, talk about suicide and join the fight to help those who are struggling. If you want to become QPR trained, please go and sign up for QPR Gatekeeper Training. You could save a life.

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