Suicide Prevention Task Force launches new program starting with Bucks County employees

JACK FIRNENO / WIRE PHOTO Dawn Seader second from left) stands with Bucks County commissioners and members of the Bucks County Suicide Prevention Task Force

JACK FIRNENO / WIRE PHOTO Dawn Seader second from left) stands with Bucks County commissioners and members of the Bucks County Suicide Prevention Task Force

Starting this month, Bucks County is taking three new steps to help prevent suicides: Question, Persuade and Refer.

Referred to as QPR for short, these steps are part of a nationwide curriculum that the Bucks County Suicide Prevention Coalition is instituting locally.

“I’m really excited about the initiative we’re doing for Bucks County,” said Dawn Seader, the mental health deputy administrator for the county’s Department of Mental Health and Developmental Programs, and a member of the Bucks County Suicide Task Force. “We’ve made suicide prevention a priority for a couple years now. We’re seeing a rise in suicide not only in Bucks County, but across the country.”

On Sept. 21, up to 25 people will be trained on how to recognize suicidal behaviors in a person and guide them to get the help they need.

The coalition is rolling out the program first to county employees, with 21 people signed up so far. After the session, they’ll be able to use the techniques at work and home, where they can spread the skills to friends and family members.

While the curriculum follows an established plan that’s laid out nationwide, it will include some county-specific information about local statistics, trends and resources.

Cost for the training is approximately $400 per person, and is funded by the county and Magellan Health Services.

The coalition announced the program’s launch at this week’s county commissioners meeting, where officials also recognized September as Suicide Prevention Month in the county.

“The commissioners made this a priority nearly three years ago, and the Suicide Prevention Task Force has been working diligently with community stakeholders to make this a priority,” said Seader.

For information on local programming, visit www.bucksiu.org.

For the free, confidential suicide prevention lifeline, call 800.273.TALK (8255).

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