Members of the Crookston Lions, Rotary, Kiwanis, and Masons participated in a Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) training as a first step to increase suicide awareness in the community.
During the course, participants were made aware of statistics relating to suicides, warning signs to watch for, what questions to ask when you suspect someone of considering suicide, how to persuade them to look for alternative methods of solving their problem(s), and resources for professional help.
Tim Denney, certified QPR trainer, pointed out some statistics. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US and has increased 26 percent in 11 years. For every completed suicide there are 25 attempts. The highest risk groups are 1) Men age 35-65 (45-54 is peak). 2) Men over 65 (over 85 is peak) and 3) Adolescents 15-24. Locally we have had a difficult run. The second half of 2017 saw at least 7 suicides among Crookston residents.
White males account for 70 percent of suicide deaths. They die by suicide 3.5 times more often than women; however there was a 45 percent increase in the suicide rate in women between 1999 and 2014, whereas the increase among men during that period was 16 percent. Of the 123 people per day that die of suicide in the US, 20 are veterans. Active military suicides are also high, currently steady around 275 per year. That rate is roughly twice the percentage of the general population.
Farmers and agricultural workers are at significantly elevated risk; with the rate of suicide among US farmers double the general population. The rate for Ag workers is twice that of farmers. This is a world-wide problem with the rate in some countries at five times the rate for the general population in their country.
Tim noted that suicide is the most preventable cause of death.
“Ninety-four percent of the individuals who attempt to commit suicide but received intervention never try a second time. With open conversation, community awareness, community training, and the application of basic services, we could cut the rate of suicide significantly,” Denney explained. “QPR training is a great start. More than 1,000 people have this training in our region. QPR is like CPR. You get the training and hope that you never need it. If you do need it, it is easy to remember and easy to use. It makes a difference.”
Until more opportunities for training and discussions about suicide prevention become available, you should be aware that the regional Mobile Crisis Support Line for mental health emergencies or personal and family crisis is 800-282.5005 and is available 24/7/365. Other resource numbers include: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433), and Vets4Warriors: 1-855-838-8255.