QPR Quick Quotes: Recognizing the Lethality in “Ordinary” Suffering
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Quick Quote:

The phrase "Suicide is a final solution to a temporary problem"
fails to grasp the exquisite, excruciating, and unbearable psychic
pain experienced by the suicidal sufferer who, in that darkest of
moments, agonizes that bringing on one's death may be but a
temporary solution to the infinity of mental anguish.

                                                                                -Paul Quinnett, Ph.D.,
                                                                                Founder & CEO, QPR Institute

Myth: No one can stop suicide. It is inevitable.

Fact: If people in a crisis get the help they need, they will
probably never be suicidal again.

Recognizing the Lethality in "Ordinary" Suffering
                                                                                                          -Carolyn V. Coarsey, Ph.D.
Cindy (not her real name) attended QPR Gatekeeper Training offered by
her employer. This class was her first training on suicide prevention. Prior
to the training, Cindy, a Human Resources Manager, assumed that suicidal
people contacted the organization’s employee assistance program and
obtained professional help. While Cindy found the QPR Gatekeeper training
engaging and appreciated it, she had no idea how quickly she would put
her training into action.

A couple of days after the training, Cindy got a phone call from her sister,
Sarah. Sarah and her husband were getting divorced. While Cindy knew
the custody battle over the three children was complicated, she had no
idea how bad things were before this conversation. Cindy detected a level
of anxiety in her sister’s voice that was alarming. She became worried
when her sister questioned her ability to live through the divorce. Putting
her gatekeeper training into action, Cindy took the first step in the QPR
intervention—she asked, 'the question'.

Cindy asked Sarah if she was thinking of ending her life. Her concern
intensified when Sarah answered yes. Sarah went on to say how much
easier it would be on everyone if she were out of the picture. Sarah
reasoned that the children’s father had always made more money than
she, and his parents were already involved in their childcare on a
weekly basis.

The more her sister talked, the more Cindy realized how fragile Sarah's
emotional state had become. Not wanting to take any chances, she
continued to engage Sarah. Cindy remembered from her training that
children often provide parents and other caregivers a reason to live. 
She decided to use that approach in her discussion with Sarah. They
discussed how important it was for the children to grow up having both
parents involved in their lives, despite the divorce. By Sarah’s agreement,
Cindy knew that her sister’s concern for her children was indeed the key
to keeping her safe. She also understood that while the children were
crucial to her sister's survival, the next step was to help her find ongoing
professional help.

Cindy saw her sister the following day. They agreed over coffee to see
each other more frequently. By the time Cindy shared the story with the
QPR facilitator, Sarah was meeting a counselor weekly. Cindy explained
how valuable she had found QPR Gatekeeper training to be, as without
the training she does not think she would have taken her sister's
comments seriously. Upon reflection, Cindy saw risk factors in Sarah's
situation that she failed to consider when she heard about them in class.

To deny the possibility of death by suicide in someone we know
is to deny that person any chance of rescue.

                                                                                                         -Paul Quinnett, Ph.D.,
                                                                                                         Founder & CEO, QPR Institute
Cindy now realized that for Sarah, facing a divorce, and losing even partial
custody of her children, coupled with financial stress, put her sister at
increased risk for death by suicide. Between the gatekeeper training and
her interaction with Sarah shortly after the class, Cindy believes that her
sensitivity toward what she once saw as ‘normal’ problems has changed.
Suffering associated with losses, not the least of which often accompanies
divorce, is no longer invisible to her—and she knows that her compassion
for others going through major life changes has significantly increased
because of this experience.


The Family Assistance Foundation has joined with the QPR Institute to
provide suicide prevention training to our corporate members.
The QPR (Question, Persuade and Refer) Training for suicide prevention
program teaches participants about myths as well as warning signs and
risk factors for empowering both lay as well as professional helpers to
prevent death by suicide.
What is a Gatekeeper?
A gatekeeper can include anyone who is strategically positioned to
recognize and refer someone at risk of suicide. The Foundation sponsors
gatekeeper workshops as well as train-the-trainer programs for those
who wish to become Gatekeeper trainers in their respective organizations.
If you would like information about QPR or Gatekeeper Training or have a
story to share with the Foundation, please contact Stephen Young at

© 2018 QPR Institute Inc./Family Assistance Education & Research Foundation 
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