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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 08, 2013

Contact:   

Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936
Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391

Suicide prevention the focus in Helena QPR workshop

Sixty people from all across Montana, North and South Dakota and New Mexico will gather in Helena this week to receive suicide prevention training that will enable them to train others in their respective communities on recognizing the signs of suicide in order to help save lives.

NAMI-Helena is the primary sponsor for the two-day QPR (Question, Persuade and Refer) Gatekeeper Instructor Training for Suicide Prevention with financial assistance provided by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention-Montana Chapter, Safeway, Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), Town Pump Charitable Foundation and Butte CARES Inc.

The training is May 9 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and May 10 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church located at 535 N. Ewing. The workshop will feature QPR Institute Master Trainer Debi Traeder and other experienced QPR trainers.

“Early recognition of warning signs, intervention and professional assessment and care saves lives,” said Judy Griffith of NAMI-Helena. “This course teaches thousands of citizens across the country each year who are strategically positioned to recognize and refer someone at risk of suicide.”

According to DPHHS Suicide Prevention Coordinator Karl Rosston, also a QPR trainer, participants will first learn about the nature of suicide communications. They are then introduced to the history of suicide, and modern day suicide prevention education efforts, he said.

Mental health advocates, nurses, school officials and other suicide prevention advocates from the Crow Reservation, Butte, Hardin, Grass Range, Absorakee, Havre, St. Xavier, Boulder, Columbus, Montana City, Helena, Dillon, Anaconda, Billings and Missoula will be in attendance.

Griffith said the class is at maximum capacity. “We filled every slot, so there’s certainly a lot of interest,” he said. “We’re expecting a great group of participants. But most important, they have all agreed to go back and provide suicide prevention training in their communities. The more trained people we have in our communities to address this issue the better.”

This training event has been in the planning for over one year. Workshop coordinators, Elinor Edmunds, co-founder of American Foundation for Suicide-Montana Chapter and Griffith worked to bring in the QPR Institute to Helena in order to meet increased demand for additional QPR training.

Rosston said the issue of suicide touches every Montanan. “Montana continues to struggle with the issue of suicide,” he said. “This is an issue without an easy solution. We need to raise awareness of the warning signs, and also realize that suicide is preventable.”

Page last updated: 05/15/2013