It is taking our youth at alarming rates. Suicide is the leading cause of death for young adults ages 15-24 in Wyoming. Since 1996, Wyoming has been ranked among the top five states in the nation with the highest suicide rate. In 2018, Wyoming remained 2nd in the nation. (www.suicidology.org)
Consider these facts:
In 2018, there was an average of two suicides each month in Natrona County. (Natrona County Coroner)
One person dies by suicide every 56 hours in Wyoming. (Wyoming Department of Health)
64% of suicides in Wyoming were completed by firearms. (Wyoming Department of Health)
Men have a higher suicide rate. (Wyoming Department of Health)
Suicide is a serious public health issue that affects all ages, all races, all cultures. There are steps we can take to protect our friends and loved ones. It can be as simple at the letters Q P R.
BGCCW Youth Development Professionals Sherman Hill and Beth Herden are Certified QPR Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Instructors
QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer. They are the steps one can use to intervene if someone may be considering suicide.
“Suicide is a tough topic, but it is time that we look at people with mental illness in the same way we look at people with a physical illness. With QPR, we are educating the world and helping more and more suicidal people every day,” said Herden.
The pair recently trained Club staff how to use this method. Staff learned warning signs and behaviors to watch for and they learned to Question… a person about suicide, Persuade… the person to get help, and, Refer… the person to the appropriate resource.
“Club staff need to be trained because they interact with youth from every type of background. We often see youth that have lost loved ones, struggle to discover who they are, ones that have a tough upbringing, and so much more. The staff are able to start these crucial conversation about the tough subjects of self harm and suicide, can help provide that pillar of support and the listening ear,” explained Hill, who serves as the Club’s teen director. He said QPR is a valuable tool in his role and he’s used it more than a handful times with teens at the Club
Herden noted that “members often feel more safe at the Club than anywhere else, so it becomes vital for staff to notice warning signs or behaviors in our members and then step up to ask the hard questions.”
Anyone can be trained as a QPR Gatekeeper to provide support for the people who need it and save more lives. Hill said, “We can help our community overcome the taboos and stigmas that make talking about suicide difficult.”
Sherman Hill and Beth Herden are available to train your organization, school, company, or staff. Call the Boys & Girls Club Main Club at (307) 234-2456 for more information.
BGCCW’s QPR Gatekeeper Training is sponsored by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming Caring Foundation.