Campus News

Suicide prevention training available to UK students, employees

Pete Comparoni | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 17, 2023) — QPR stands for Question, Persuade and Refer — the three steps anyone can learn to help save someone from suicide. Students in the University of Kentucky College of Nursing Bachelor of Science Program all learn this training as part of their coursework. UK HealthCare has now increased access to free QPR training through an online portal available 24/7 to anyone with a email address.

QPR training allows individuals to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis. It also prepares them to offer hope, and how to react in cases when their patient may have an affirmative response when asked if they’ve tried to take their own life.

“It really helps them learn how to ask really difficult questions, and get rid of that fear that comes with talking to patients about something so personal,” said Stephanie Steele, D.N.P., clinical instructor and lecturer at the UK College of Nursing.

Think of QPR like CPR. CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, an emergency medical intervention to stabilize one’s breathing. QPR is an emergency mental health intervention that can have lifesaving results. Like CPR, QPR uses a "chain of survival" approach. If each of the following four links is connected, a person is much more likely to survive.

  • Early recognition of suicide.
  • Early question, persuade, refer.
  • Early intervention.
  • Early advanced life support.

“We’ve seen a big increase in mental health crises in our students in the college,” said Steele. “I think the QPR training is really helping break down the stigma, and get them more comfortable with those discussions.”

In health care settings, understanding how to navigate conversations about suicide is vital.

“Since implementing training, I’ve seen an increase in students’ confidence when interacting with clients who had suicidal crisis or suicidal ideation,” said Amanda Lykins, D.N.P., assistant professor for the undergraduate nursing program. “They were equipped to go into those conversations. Anything we can do to help them be more informed, and prepare them to be better nurses, I think is an amazing thing.”

UK students with a mental health or wellness question, or a staff/faculty member assisting a student can show up in-person to the third floor, east wing of the Gatton Student Center. Students can also call 859-21TRACS or fill out this form for assistance.

UK employees can also request a live, virtual or in-person QPR training for teams or departments with Ann M. Bassoni, mental health therapist with UK Work-Life Connections. Click here to request a session.

Other mental health resources for employees that are available through UK Human Resources include:

For more information about QPR training, click here.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.