How to Take Action to Prevent Suicide


Jennie Babcock, Chair, Plymouth County Suicide Prevention Coalition

man confiding to friend

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a report that shows a substantial increase in death by suicide in the United States since 1999. In June, the high-profile suicides of designer Kate Spade and television host and author Anthony Bourdain made many people question if they would recognize the signs a friend, family member, client, or even a stranger on the street may be considering taking his or her own life. And how can an untrained person help someone in crisis? 

It’s easy to feel powerless. But there is a simple three-step method you can learn to help save a life. It’s called QPR.

QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer. People trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to QuestionPersuade, and Refer the person in crisis to the help he or she needs. (You can learn more about this evidence-based program by clicking here.) 

Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich maneuver save thousands of lives each year, QPR allows everyday people to save the life of a suicidal friend, colleague, sibling, or neighbor though this emergency intervention.

In QPR training, you will learn the common causes of suicidal behavior, such as depression, hopelessness and feeling of being a burden to others. We will also discuss the warning signs that someone may be considering suicide, such as expressions of hopelessness, talking about suicide, or securing lethal means. We then provide the tools you need to approach someone you think may be suicidal.

At the end of the course, you’ll be a certified Gatekeeper, which means you are the first line of help to someone who may be suicidal. Your Gatekeeper certification is valid for three years from the date you take the course.

The Plymouth County Suicide Prevention Coalition has trained more than 550 participants throughout Plymouth and Norfolk Counties, including first responders, safety personnel, school staff, veterans—anyone who wants to help make a difference.

Want to learn the skills you need to save a life? Join us at South Shore Medical Center in Norwell at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, July 18 for a free QPR training.

Our QPR training is free, but advance registration is required. To RSVP, please contact Jennie Babcock at plymouthcountypreventssuicide [at] or 508-254-9320.


Jennie Babcock, Chair, Plymouth County Suicide Prevention Coalition