Reflecting on the recent suicides that have been in the headlines and for those that happen each week that do not make headlines, I wanted to share some resources and information to help empower us all to realize that suicide is preventable and sometimes the smallest interaction can make a difference in someone’s life. Dr. Paul Quinnette’s QPR training (Question, Persuade, Refer) compares knowing the signs of suicide (behavioral, emotional, and verbal) with CPR; knowing the steps to take to save a life. We do not all have to be professional experts to have an impact on someone’s emotional and mental health. In fact, we as the general population are more likely to be “first responders” just as friends, neighbors, family members, and colleagues who interact with each other on a daily basis.
SAMHSA’s website has outlined suicide risk factors and warning signs as well as the national hotline number.
These signs do not always indicate someone is suicidal, however, it can help you ask the question if you know someone is going through some of these. Dr. Quinnette’s training offers both direct and indirect ways to “ask the question” to those we see are struggling. Depending on your relationship with the person and your comfort level, this gives you some freedom to intervene with either a caring statement of empathy or even a direct comment such as, “are you thinking of hurting yourself?” Again, any interaction of support, care, and empathy can make a difference.
Recently, DuPage County reiterated their commitment to suicide prevention by reminding residents about the crisis hotline as well as a text option.
The YWCA also offers general counseling services to those who need emotional and mental health support. YWCA general counseling is an in-network provider with Blue Cross/Blue Shield PPO and out-of-network provider for other insurances, which you may have a benefit.
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness”. Desmond Tutu
Cheryl Hazek, LCSW
Children’s Mental Health Consultant
YWCA Metropolitan Chicago