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OCU Takes Suicide Prevention Initiative
Officials at Oklahoma City University are taking a proactive approach toward suicide prevention through an educational outreach program. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death nationwide amongst college students, according to research by the QPR Institute. Two employees at OCU have become certified to teach QPR, an acronym that serves as a reminder on steps to take in preventing suicide. The letters stand for question, persuade and refer. The QPR-certified instructors, Director of Counseling Brandi Gibson and Director of Intramural and Recreational Sports Jonathan Triplett, will present their first training session Oct. 22 to tell others on campus how to recognize the signs and what to do after noticing them. “It’s a difficult position to be in after hearing that someone wants to end their life. Most people don’t know how to respond,” Gibson said. “There are proven methods to stop these situations from escalating out of control, before it’s too late.” QPR is a behavioral intervention that focuses on getting a distressed person referred for professional help, Gibson said. Through the training program, the certified counselors teach those on the “front lines” like resident advisors, faculty members, parents and friends how to recognize the warning signs including verbal, behavioral and situational clues. QPR was created and developed by Paul Quinnett, a clinical psychologist in Spokane, Wash., with more than 35 years experience in his field. Quinnett developed and managed a suicide prevention hotline, an emergency services department and a dozen mental health service delivery programs. He has authored seven books, several professional articles and book chapters. He was director of training for the Spokane Mental Health psychology internship program and has served on the board of the American Association of Suicidology. The 90-minute training sessions cover facts and myths about suicide, tips for asking certain questions and steps to take in persuading suicidal individuals into getting professional help. The OCU instructors were certified through the Train the Trainers program at the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health. They plan to hold workshops twice a year, many of which will be open to the public, in an effort to get more people on campus aware of the proper steps. Visit for more information about the training program.