‘Whatever We Can Do to Support Our Students’: Piedmont University Employees Complete Suicide Prevention Training
Employees throughout Piedmont University are now better prepared to prevent suicide after completing Question, Persuade, Refer — QPR — training.
“There is a global mental health crisis currently, and at Piedmont University, we feel that whatever we can do to better support our students is worth our time and effort,” said Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Dr. Kim Crawford, who organized the training.
“This training was an opportunity to provide our faculty, staff, and student Residential Assistants the proper tools to help prevent suicide. Participants learned three steps for responding to a student in crisis, as well as where to refer them to on campus for further support.”
Developed by the QPR Institute, QPR training readies participants to recognize suicide warning signs, initiate conversations about suicidal thoughts and feelings, and ultimately refer individuals to suicide-prevention resources.
Master of Arts in Professional Counseling-Clinical Mental Health Concentration Coordinator Dr. Kathy Robinson led the Piedmont training.
“I was so pleased with the dialogue and engagement. The participants asked lots of great questions. They were very responsive and eager,” Robinson said.
“There was a sense of relief in the room at the end of each session. The participants realized that they can do something to help prevent suicide; they don’t have to be bystanders. Now, they’ll be able to use what they learned in multiple situations, not just on campus, but with their families, friends, neighbors, or anyone they may encounter who is considering suicide.”
Robinson added that the QPR training is helping create awareness of mental health issues in general.
“It opened up a lot of conversations and got participants thinking about the mental health struggles of those around them every day,” she said.
Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Jim Peeples, as well as many members of the athletics staff, participated in the QPR training. Given their close interactions with students, doing so was imperative, Peeples said.
“Understanding that so many are suffering with mental health problems today, it is critical that we prepare our people to support our students. Trainings like QPR are one of the ways we can be better prepared and have more confidence stepping into those situations,” Peeples said.
“Having the tools that we learned during the training allow faculty, coaches, and support staff to take the proper action to support our students who may be considering suicide.”
Robinson hopes to make QPR training available to additional employees, as well as students, in the fall.
Piedmont University’s fully online Master of Arts in Professional Counseling with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling will launch in fall 2022. Learn more at Professional Counseling, MA | Piedmont University.