Suicide is a tough issue facing Indian country. The word “suicide” itself can feel very taboo to even say. Kwawachee Counseling Center Director Danelle Reed and Puyallup Tribal Housing Coordinator Lucia Earl-Mitchell are taking the lead to make sure community and families can have the knowledge to overcome our emotional reactions to suicide with QPR training (Question, Persuade and Refer). Why? Because asking a question, can save a life.
Housing tenants and tribal members gathered on Sept. 10 for National Suicide Prevention Day to provide QPR training to community and its members. QPR is designed to interrupt the terrible journey of suicide. But first we must overcome our reluctance to become involved. Far too often, those who are in a position to recognize the warning signs of a suicidal crisis either fail to see them, deny their meaning, or minimize these communications as “not serious.” Failure to recognize and act on knowledge of the warning signs of a pending suicide attempt may reflect a lack of basic knowledge on how to be helpful or it may suggest that we are reluctant to get involved, allowing fear and denial, shock and anger to get in the way of understanding.
Suicide is the most complex and difficult to understand of all human behaviors. Yet, suicidal people are just like you and me. When someone threatens suicide, the most natural reaction is fear. Fear leads to denial. Denial is how we cope when we are confronted with something too terrible to contemplate. To convince ourselves that we didn’t hear what we heard, we deny the warning signs of a suicide crisis by believing the old myth that “people who talk about suicide don’t do it” or that the person is only seeking attention. Fear and denial are normal reactions to someone talking about ending his or her life by suicide.
Effective QPR means controlling our emotions while we try to help. It also means that we are taking the step to ask the right question.
FACT: People who talk about or threaten suicide often do go on to attempt or complete suicide. To prevent suicide, we must overcome this dangerous form of denial and apply QPR and perhaps save a life.
When you apply QPR, you plant the seed of HOPE. Applying QPR brings a personal crisis out of the dark and into the light. QPR is a positive, hopeful technique and it is hope more than anything else that helps reduce the risk of premature death by suicide. Yes, HOPE begins with you!
If you would like more information, please join KCC and Housing on Sept. 26 for a follow-up dinner and the unveiling of the sign for NE Gym.
- National Prevention Lifeline: 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255)
- Kwawachee Counseling and Treatment Center: (253) 593-0247
- Pierce County Crisis Line: 1 (800) 576-7764
- Native Youth Crisis Line: 1 (877) 209-1266
- Puyallup Tribe Employee Assistance Program: 1 (800) 553-7798
- Puyallup Tribal Police: (253) 680-5656
- QPR Institute: (509) 536-5100