Death by suicide is a national problem. It touches all ages and backgrounds. Mental health professionals agree that people who think about taking their own lives feel trapped by what they perceive as a hopeless situation, feel cut off by life and friendships, and they want to end what they perceive as unbearable pain. The causes are complex and the pain is real, and regardless of the often unanswerable “why,” most suicides leave behind people who suffer intense grief.
Suicide In McHenry County Is A Critical Concern
In Illinois suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for people ages 15 – 34. In McHenry County, suicide took the lives of 35 residents in 2015, 23 in 2016, and 43 in 2017. According to the results of McHenry County’s 2017 Healthy Community Study, during the 12 months of 2016, 8.6% of our households had thought about suicide. Studies show that there are more than 25 attempted suicides for each suicide death.
You Can Make a Difference!
At the community level, both lay citizens and professionals must work together to achieve two common goals: a greater sense of shared responsibility for the prevention of suicide and a greater sense of community competence in learning the skills necessary to prevent suicide attempts and completions.
What can “you” do to help? Fortunately, strong evidence shows that a comprehensive public health approach is effective in reducing suicide rates. Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refersomeone to help. Each year thousands of Americans, like you, are saying “Yes” to saving the life of a friend, colleague, sibling, or neighbor.
Who should take QPR training? School staff, social workers, first responders, public officials, faith communities, staff of parks and recreation; anyone who works with people, regardless of their field of employment, can benefit.
How much time does the training require? In a little over an hour, people can learn to recognize the warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide. “Gatekeepers” are trained to recognize persons who may be at risk of suicide, persuade them to seek and accept help, and refer them to appropriate resources.
What is the cost? QPR trainings are sponsored by the McHenry County Mental Health Board, the Community Foundation for McHenry County, and volunteer instructors. Trainings are offered at no cost to the community.