According to the Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10 to 34 in the state. To help address this, Extension’s 4-H Youth Development Program recently conducted a training for 15 faculty and staff members to teach them steps they can take to help prevent suicides, especially among Nevada’s youth.
The training is called “QPR” training, which stands for question, persuade and refer. Just as people trained in CPR help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR also help save lives by learning how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis, and how to question, persuade and refer someone to help. Together, through their 4-H responsibilities, the 15 Extension professionals completing the training have contact with over 38,000 youth and 2,000 adult volunteers each year.
The training was conducted by Brenda Freeman, professor of counseling and educational psychology and Extension specialist at the University, who has provided counseling for more than 30 years.
In addition to the state’s high suicide rates, other factors point to the need for such training. For example, a youth needs assessment recently conducted by Extension, the University’s College of Education & Human Development, and the Nevada Department of Education identified support for youth’s emotional and mental health as a high need across the state.
“This training is really essential for our staff who are regularly working with young people,” Carrie Stark, Nevada 4-H program director, said. “The more people in the community who understand what the warning signs and prevention techniques for suicide risk are, the lower the suicide rates in that community become.”
To that end, Stark said Extension is going to offer “train-the-trainer” sessions this summer, so that Extension staff throughout the state will be able to provide training sessions for others in their communities.
“It doesn’t take that much to learn this, just like learning CPR,” Stark said. “We really think Extension can light a spark in communities to help provide mental health support for our youth, and to save some lives.”
For more information about future trainings, email Stark at firstname.lastname@example.org.