Lee Wagner, senior program implementation specialist from the University of Pittsburgh, visited SCI Mercer’s Veterans Service Unit to conduct QPR Suicide Prevention Gate-Keeper training. QPR stands for “Question, Persuade, Refer,” and key components covered in the training included: how to question, persuade and refer someone who may be suicidal; how to get help for yourself or learn more about preventing suicide; the common causes of suicidal behavior; the warning signs of suicide; and how to get help for someone in crisis.
After the training, Wagner commented that he has never conducted a training that had the level of engagement and authenticity as that of the VSU. He followed up with an email that read, in part: “Personally speaking, it was one of the most memorable experiences of my professional career. Not just the location, but the connection that was made with those who attended.”
The training was equally engaging for the VSU participants. SCI Mercer was the first institution to receive this training from the University of Pittsburgh, but plans are already made to conduct the same training at SCI Houtzdale’s VSU.
As a bonus, Bolt and Gracie, the VSU’s service dogs in training, also attended the training with different goals. Their presence was definitely beneficial for this important yet emotional training.