QPR training transforms students into mental health allies

The Baylor Counseling Center is a free resource on campus that offers students a safe and honest environment where they can connect with others. Lariat file photo.

By Rory Dulock | Staff Writer

Baylor’s Counseling Center is offering Question, Persuade, Refer Gatekeeper Training for students from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 10 in Moody-Memorial Library’s Active Learning Lab. The training will allow students to become mental health allies by equipping them with tools to identify warning signs in their peers.

According to the QPR Institute website, “The QPR mission is to reduce suicidal behaviors and save lives by providing innovative, practical and proven suicide prevention training. The signs of crisis are all around us. We believe that quality education empowers all people, regardless of their background, to make a positive difference in the life of someone they know.”

Conneaut Lake, Pa., sophomore Isabella Vennare said QPR training helps prepare students to identify symptoms of mental health problems.

“Throughout the training, they teach you how to handle possible suicide crisis situations, how to further question them about what is going on, kind of get to the bottom of it, how to persuade them maybe to seek out help and what that may look like,” Vennare said. “And you refer them to different avenues to get that sort of help that they need.”

Vennare said QPR training has a “sequence” on how to deal with a situation involving suicide prevention.

“QPR stands for question, persuade and refer,” Vennare said. “So you question [the student] and see what is going on in their lives, if something is bothering them. And then you can go a little deeper than that and ask if they’re having any suicidal thoughts, if they’re struggling. And if they are, then you persuade them to try to reach out to people and talk to them and make sure they know it’s OK. Then you refer them to different avenues. … Then you’ll follow up and make sure they get the help that they need.”

According to the QPR Institute, surveys show most health care providers do not receive specific or adequate training in how to help those at risk of suicide, which leaves it to individuals to help those around them.

Mansfield sophomore Reese Reiling said QPR training is important and beneficial for Baylor students.

“For me, it opened up my eyes and really brought more information about why conversations like this are important and why getting help is important and why training people to know what direction to lead students in is important,” Reiling said. “And so, I think students being able to be trained in this area is beneficial for anyone in their life that could be dealing with this, and especially on campus in such a high-stress environment.”

QPR training allows students to become mental health allies by teaching them to be empathetic listeners and support networks, Reiling said.

“I think [QPR training] will help students be more empathetic and more able to understand some of the things that may be going on with other students,” Reiling said. “[Students] may be able to pick up on different things that they are seeing in their friends or family outside of the Baylor community. Also, if we have more awareness as a whole, it will help positively impact the student culture here.”