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Question, Persuade and Refer

"QPR is a Gatekeeper training program, based on the fact that adults, peers, family and friends are often in the best position to make an intervention because of their routine contact with the person at risk for suicide. The QPR strategy is designed for any group that may have contact with at-risk populations." - QPR Training Manual

QPR stands for Question, Persuade and Refer — Three simple steps that anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help.

With QPR, the following Chain of Survival elements must also be in place:

  • Early recognition of suicide warning signs. The sooner warning signs are detected and help sought, the better the outcome of a suicide crisis will be.
  • Early QPR. Asking someone about the presence of suicidal thoughts and feelings opens up a conversation that may lead to a referral for help.
  • Early intervention and referral. Referral to local resources or calling 1-800-SUICIDE for evaluation and possible referral is critical, as most people thinking about suicide are suffering from an undiagnosed and/or untreated mental illness or substance abuse disorder for which excellent treatments exist. Also, the offering of hope and social and spiritual support can often avert a suicide attempt.
  • Early professional assessment and treatment. As with any illness, early detection and treatment can result in better outcomes and fewer lives lost to suicide.


(Staff, faculty, RA/RPM/RPAL)

According to the Surgeon General's National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (2001), a gatekeeper is someone in a position to recognize a crisis and the warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide. Gatekeepers include parents, friends, neighbors, teachers, ministers, doctors, nurses, office supervisors, squad leaders, foremen, police officers, advisors, caseworkers, firefighters and many others who are strategically positioned to recognize and refer someone at risk of suicide.

A gatekeeper will learn to:

  • recognize the warning signs of suicide,
  • know how to offer hope, and
  • know how to get help and save a life.

Gatekeeper Instructors

(Counseling Center staff)

This certification course trains Instructors to teach QPR for Suicide Prevention to their community. Participants first learn about the nature of suicidal communications, what forms these communications take and how they may be used as the stimulus for a QPR intervention. To gain perspective, participants are introduced to the history of suicide, suicide prevention and the spectrum of modern day public health suicide prevention education efforts. The history, background and research support for QPR are reviewed. Participants then learn to market QPR, target potential gatekeepers and how to teach the QPR curriculum. Participants also learn to deal with pent up audience demand to talk about suicide, survivor issues and how to make immediate interventions and referrals. Each participant has the opportunity for individual rehearsal and practice through role-plays.

From the QPR Training Manual, QPR Institute, third edition, Paul Quinnett, 2011.

To make an appointment with a counselor, click the link below and submit a request for services.

Request For Services Form

If this is an emergency, please call 911 or 3911 on campus.