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As part of National Suicide Prevention Awareness month in September, Auburn University will host a suicide prevention training day on Wednesday, Sept. 21. Student Counseling Services and Health Promotion and Wellness Services will host Question, Persuade, Refer trainings, or QPR, conducted in 50-minute rotations beginning every hour on the hour from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The trainings will take place in 2218 and 2225 Student Center and are open to all students, faculty and staff members at Auburn University.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death of young adults aged 15-25, and like cardiopulmonary resuscitation or the Heimlich Maneuver, the application of QPR can save a life. Designed to assist the trainee in intervening with someone considering suicide, QPR’s mission is “to teach those who are in a position to recognize the warning signs, clues and suicidal communications of people in trouble to act vigorously to prevent a possible tragedy.” QPR trains people to question a person about suicide, persuade the person to get help and refer the person to the appropriate resource.

According to Eric Smith, director of Health Promotion and Wellness Services, QPR is nationally accepted as the best-certified practice for suicide prevention and early intervention. “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary crisis,” he said. “If we can get a person through that anxious moment then we can go a long way.”

Doug Hankes, director of Student Counseling Services, added that the topic of suicide also serves as a hurdle for those needing help. “Suicide is one of society’s last taboos,” he said. “It’s an uncomfortable topic, and we don’t like to talk about it. QPR helps us have the conversation that is necessary to save lives.”

Smith said the goal is to train as many people as possible in QPR, particularly students. The offices hope to train nearly 600 people on Sept. 21. “QPR, at the end of the day, plants a seed of hope in somebody that they are actually going to be okay, and they are going to make it to tomorrow,” he said. 

Also as part of National Suicide Prevention Awareness month, Health Promotion and Wellness Services will host the Be Well Hut on the Haley Concourse to distribute QPR pamphlets and help educate students on suicide prevention.

Additionally, Auburn University’s Active Minds student organization will host the annual Out of Darkness Walk on Sunday, Oct. 9, from 2-4 p.m. to raise further awareness and support for those affected by suicide and mental illness. Registration will begin at 1 p.m. on the Student Center green space.

QPR training sessions will also continue throughout the 2016 academic year. For more information on QPR, or to schedule a QPR training session, please contact Student Counseling Services at 844-5123 or on the website, or Health Promotion and Wellness Services at 844-1528 or on the website. For more information about suicide prevention, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.