Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR): A CAPS Suicide Prevention Training

Over the years, the greater U of M community has requested CAPS workshops and presentations focused on helping students who may feel suicidal or in distress. CAPS has joined 160 colleges and universities in providing QPR to their campus. Essentially, QPR is a behavioral intervention that focuses on getting a distressed student/individual referred for professional help. Since QPR’s launch in November of 2006, thousands (students, faculty and staff) have gone through the training from many different units on campus.

Request a QPR Presentation HERE.

Why is QPR important?

According to national statistics:

  • 24,000 suicide attempts on college campuses occur per year nationwide
  • 1,100 completed college student suicides occur per year nationwide
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death of college students

What are the goals of QPR?

QPR is intended to teach individuals who have a lot of contact with students (e.g., faculty, staff, friends) how to recognize the warning signs of suicide and provide guidelines as to how to Question a person about suicidal thoughts, how to Persuade them to get help and how to Refer the person for help. QPR for the U-M campus community was launched in November of 2006 and hundreds of faculty, staff and students have already participated in this important training.  QPR is a vital training for the U-M campus community, as many faculty, staff, and students have already participated.

The QPR two-hour training is both didactic and experiential in nature. It includes: an overview of national, state and University of Michigan specific statistics regarding suicide; the myths versus facts; identifying behavioral, verbal and situational warning signs; and practicing concrete tools in which to help someone who is in distress.

What are people saying about QPR training?

The program has been overwhelmingly well received. Some comments have included:

  • “I feel more prepared to deal with this if it comes up, and feel that I have resources available”
  • “A way for me to be a part of the “safety net” for U-M students”
  • “Now I feel more like I could actually be proactive if I’m ever in this situation.”
  • “As a director of a unit, I will assist my staff in knowing how to address a troubled student. I will also help my staff understand their boundaries. I see myself using QPR at work and in my personal life.”
  • “I believe it can help with my working with residents in the hall. The training taught me signs to watch for and how to help those residents who may possibly be suicidal. I believe the training has made me a better asset to the residence halls.”
  • “As a staff member working with students, residents, and families living on North Campus, I come across situations and incidents that relate to mental health issues and concerns. This training has given me the insights as to how best I can be of assistance to residents.”
  • “I work with undergraduates and have done so for many years. Twice, I have been involved with students who were possibly considering suicide. One of them did contact me after being hospitalized, thanking me for my help and explaining that he was no longer in danger of hurting himself. Because I work closely with students I may indeed face situations. Because of this seminar I feel better equipped to be of help.”
  • “This should be part of emergency preparedness across the campus for all folks”

Does QPR training really help students?

Another highlight of the QPR training effort is the response made by faculty, staff and students after participating in the training. CAPS has experienced several incidents since the training began in which faculty and staff have had the courage to use the knowledge and skills learned from the program to question a student in distress, persuade them to get help and eventually walk the student over to CAPS to talk with the Counselor on Duty. This has shown the strength of our community of caring and how we are able to rely on one another to provide a tight safety net for our U-M students.

Scheduling a QPR training event

If you are interested in QPR training for your unit or student group, please go to the QPR request form. During the academic year, we do receive a large number of requests. Therefore, please contact us AT LEAST 3 WEEKS PRIOR TO YOUR EVENT DATE. We will do our best to accommodate your specific requests and arrange for one of our QPR trained staff to provide the training for your staff, faculty or student group.