Mental Health offers suicide awareness, prevention class

Published 1:25 am Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The South Central Alabama Mental Health is hoping to help increase prescription drug abuse awareness and decrease suicide in Covington County with a free suicide prevention class in August.

QPR or Question, Persuade, Refer Gatekeeper training is a class held in partnership of the Alabama Department of Mental Health, Office of Prevention and the Alabama Suicide Prevention and Resources Coalition.

A “Gatekeeper” is anyone who is in position to recognize and refer someone at risk.

QPR is a 30-year, evidence-based program that was developed by the QPR institute. The training hopes to teach others how to recognize the warning signs of suicide, know how to offer help and know how to get help and save a life.

The class also hopes to teach how to recognize early warning signs of suicide as well as opening up a conversation about how to get help when it’s needed.

“Not a lot of people know that suicide is the leading death rate with regards to drug overdose,” Staci Wilson, the prevention services coordinator of SCAMH said.

In 2016, suicide was the 11th leading cause of death in Alabama with 788 citizens lost to suicide. The suicide rate for Alabama residents, ages 10-24 was 16.2 per 100,000 population.

Wilson is hoping for a big response, especially from first responders, educators and youth leaders in the area.

The class will be held in the Wilbur Williams Law Enforcement Training Center on August 10th from 1 to 3 p.m.

“We can hold around 60 or 65 people,” Wilson said.

“Space is very limited but if we have a great turnout the Alabama Suicide Prevention Coalition could offer the class next year,” she said.