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Taking steps to prevent suicide

In hopes to prevent suicide, the Student Health and Counseling Center is providing suicide prevention training for students.

Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) is a Fresno State suicide prevention training program, offered by the Student Health and Counseling Center. It provides students with information about common misconceptions that come up about suicide, warning signs and how to help others.

“The main core of these trainings is that we want everyone to know that we care,” said Georgianna Negron-Long, a health educator at the Health Center. Negron-Long is the lead facilitator for the QPR trainings. She said it is her goal to help lower the number of suicides by helping people get connected with resources.

She said she is involved with suicide prevention because of her background in psychology. Her focus is mental health.

According to the Health Center’s website, suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students between the ages of 18 and 24. The QPR training sessions are designed to help recognize the warning signs of suicide and be able to respond to the signs.

“We want participants to be able to utilize the QPR technique to help their family, friends or [whomever] it may be, get connected to help,” Negron-Long said.

The “Question” part of the training provides participants with tips on when and how to ask somebody if they are considering suicide. Participants break into groups to practice asking the question.

The training then moves into the “Persuade” phase, which is based on listening to what someone is going through and why he or she is feeling a certain way. It lets students know that everything is going to be OK, and they can get help.

The “Refer” component of the training teaches participants how to determine resources to which they can point someone. Some possible resources are those in the Health Center and also the suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255.

“It’s really easy for students to get overwhelmed, so knowing that there are resources or knowing how to help a friend is important,” said Danielle Mendoza, a graduate student in the marriage, family and child counseling program.

Mendoza is a student coordinator in the Health Center who helps prepare materials for the QPR training sessions. She said participating in a QPR training session made her more confident in being able to help someone prevent suicide.

Mendoza said suicide prevention interests her because she will be entering the mental health field. The topic is relevant to her, and she will use what she’s learned in her career.

Nhu Quynh Nguyen, a pre-nursing student with a minor in gerontology, is a health peer ambassador wellness volunteer who works with the stress and anxiety theme team. She said she believes that, based on the numbers, suicide is a very serious topic that more people should be aware about.

Nguyen cares about suicide prevention because stress and anxiety are causes of suicide. She said her involvement with the stress and anxiety theme team is important because it can help students cope with stress or anxiety before it leads to something like suicide.

“It’s great that we have trainings like QPR because it serves as a way for the campus to become more aware of how to approach the topic of suicide and be able to help prevent it,” Nguyen said.

Students can register for the trainings online on the Health Center’s website. Participants who complete the training will receive a certificate and officially be QPR certified.

The last two scheduled QPR training sessions for suicide prevention will be on April 4 and April 24 in the Henry Madden Library, Room 2206.