Not sure how to help prevent suicide? Free training can help

Credit: Nick Daggy

Credit: Nick Daggy

Like CPR, learning QPR (Question Persuade Refer) can save a life in an emergency.

The rate of young people in Ohio dying by suicide has been growing for years, but many are unsure what they can do to help prevent these tragedies.

Stigma, myths and lack of understanding can all make talking about mental health or approaching someone in a crisis seem scary, according to Nina Rains, certified prevention specialist with Dayton Children’s Hospital.

The 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 800-273-8255 for free and confidential support and connection to resources.

But there are practical steps that parents or anyone else can learn to be confident in how to talk to someone they are worried about, and a free hour-long online course can teach them. The training is free and designed to prevent suicide across age groups.

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Rains said when she is out in the community she’s often asked by people on how to help.

“And then I direct them to educate yourself. Become comfortable having these conversations. We really need to build a community of people who care,” Rains said.

From 2007 to 2018, Ohio saw a 64.4% increase in the suicide rate of youth between the ages of 10 and 24. In 2018, 271 of Ohio’s suicide deaths were in this age group. That meant suicide is the leading cause of death among Ohioans ages 10‐14 and the second leading cause of death among Ohioans ages 15‐34.

The QPR Gatekeeper training is one education option. Like CPR, learning practical QPR (Question Persuade Refer) skills can help save a life from suicide.

After taking this 60-minute QPR Gatekeeper course, participants should be able to:

  • Question, Persuade and Refer someone who might be suicidal.
  • Get help for yourself or learn more about preventing suicide.
  • Recognize the common causes of suicidal behavior.
  • Recognize the warning signs of suicide.
  • Get help for someone in crisis.
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“When I took it I came away just feeling a lot more confident about approaching someone who may be in a suicidal crisis,” Rains said.

The training is supported with a donation from Connor Group Kids & Community Foundation.

Rains said one of the important things to learn is that just asking someone if they’ve been thinking about suicide won’t put a new idea into their head, but it does work to open up a conversation.

“If you’re concerned that they’re having thoughts of suicide, you directly ask them, ‘Are you thinking about killing yourself?’ And that’s what this training does, it tells you it is OK to ask,” Rains said.

The training goes into detail on what to do if someone says yes. It’s important to then ask how and by what means, so they can intervene right away and limit access.

There’s professional help available to people in crisis. If someone is experiencing a mental health crisis and they are at immediate risk for hurting themselves or others, call 911 or a local crisis number. The 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 800-273-8255 for free and confidential support.

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Rains said training also helps people understand the signs of suicide. Some signs can range from feeling like a burden, being isolated, increased anxiety, increased substance use, extreme mood swings, sleeping too little or too much, or talking or posting about wanting to die.

How to access free suicide prevention training

This self-paced training will be available online for anyone and can be accessed anytime by following these instructions.

  • Go to
  • Enter the organization code DCH
  • Select “Create Training Account”
  • Complete and submit student registration form
  • QPR will display and email the newly created username and password.
  • Log in anytime to begin training at

Crisis contact numbers by county

The 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 800-273-8255 for free and confidential support and connection to resources.

If someone in a mental health crisis is at immediate risk or immediate risk to others, please call 911 or one of the following county agencies.

  • Montgomery County Crisis Care - 937-224-4646
  • Clark - 937-399-9500
  • Warren and Clinton - 1-877-695-6333 (NEED)
  • Butler - 1-844-427-4747
  • Greene - 937-376-8701
  • Darke, Miami, Shelby - 1-800-351-7347

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