Suicide Prevention Training Stresses QPR Model 

Suicide Prevention Training Stresses QPR Model 

Meriden Health and Human Services and the Chesprocott Health District are partnering to host a free virtual suicide prevention training session later this month in observance of Suicide Awareness Month.

The Sept. 30 training is open to all Meriden, Cheshire, Prospect and Wolcott residents and will be held via Microsoft Teams from 10 to 11:30 a.m. To register email Elizabeth DeMerchant, Meriden public health educator, at or Kate Glendon, public health specialist, at

The Chesprocott Health District serves Cheshire, Prospect and Wolcott.  

The training model for the Sept. 30 session is provided by the QPR Institute, an international organization that trains and certifies suicide prevention instructors.

In the 90-minute training, participants will learn three steps for emergency suicide intervention: question, persuade and refer, or QPR. Participants will also learn about warning signs, the best way to start mental health conversations and what local resources are available.

The QPR model functions as an emergency medical intervention tactic. Its goal is to interrupt the mental health crisis and direct a person to proper care.

“September is Suicide Awareness Month. Just like CPR, QPR is an emergency response to someone in crisis and can save lives. The training will give people the tools to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help,” said Lea Crown, director of Meriden Health and Human Services.

Glendon said that even starting conversations about mental health can be terrifying to some. The suicide prevention training session can provide the foundation needed to hold the conversation and take action.

“This training is really good for any layperson who doesn’t have any mental health or behavioral background just to help educate and better understand what it’s like for someone who might be experiencing a crisis,” she explained.

In 2019, one in seven Connecticut adults was diagnosed with depression. A total of 364 residents died by suicide in 2020.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide was the eleventh leading cause of death in the state. 

Glendon said Chesprocott holds at least three suicide intervention training sessions annually and decided to partner with Meriden Health and Human Services to reach a larger audience.

She said there’s hesitancy to talk about mental health because of stigmatization.

“A lot of people still don’t understand mental health and various types of terms that fall underneath that. [Mental health] is not a negative thing. It’s just a diagnosis that doesn’t define who you are and there’s a lot of controversy over that,” Glendon said. “The more you educate, the better it is, because it’s more information. Sometimes people need to see something five to eight times before they fully are aware of it or understand it.”

At the end of the training, all attendees receive QPR certification that recognizes them as a Gatekeeper or someone in a position to intervene in a mental health crisis as defined by the 2012 Surgeon General’s National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.

Ultimately, the suicide prevention training shows participants how to give hope to a suicidal person, Glendon said.  

“Sometimes people think suicide is the only way out of the problem,” she said. “They’re so in that way of thinking that they need help to see that and to get them out of that frame of mind into other ways of dealing with the issue or getting support for the issue.” 

Crown hopes to provide free suicide prevention training regularly to Meriden residents. In addition, she wants to remind people of other free mental health resources, such as the 9-8-8 Lifeline, which is available 24/7 and can be reached via call or text.

“[9-8-8] is a direct line to compassionate, accessible care and support for anyone experiencing mental health distress, whether thoughts of suicide, mental health, substance use crisis or any other kind of emotional distress,” she said.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 9-8-8.


Health Equity Reporter Cris Villalonga-Vivoni is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms. Support RFA reporters at the Record-Journal through a donation by clicking here To learn more about RFA, visit


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