Feb 20, 2013

Teach suicide prevention where people buy guns

Suicide prevention training takes an hour or two. Why not offer this training wherever lethal weapons are sold? And in states where concealed/carry is part of the equation, why not add effective suicide prevention to the curriculum?

Firearms are involved in nearly 20,000 suicides every year, in incidents that often put others at risk.

Prevention training, also known as “gatekeeper training” helps people learn what to do when someone is breaking down and becoming unsafe. Question, Persuade and Refer – or QPR training, is available online from the QPR Institute for $30. Firearms instructors can become accredited trainers. Call 1-888-726-7926 for information about how to host and customize QPR training for your organization.

Better yet, call your local community mental health center and ask them to host prevention training at your site.

If you are a community mental health worker, why aren’t you already collaborating with the people closest to potential suicide victims? Most gun ranges have meeting rooms. Find out where they are, and get started.

My book Defying Mental Illness covers suicide prevention too. It includes a simple script to help people talk about safety issues connected with emotions and reactions to the experiences of life.

Suicide prevention is not that complicated. You may be the only person with a chance to save your friend. The ultimate answer in most cases is to talk with people directly about their feelings and intentions. If you become worried, act prudently, control the environment and stay with the person to provide support as you connect with a more formal system. The US national suicide prevention hotline is 1-800-273-8255.
The photo is from http://www.clevelandinsideoutside.com/clevelandgallery.htm

No comments: