UK HealthCare

Get trained to help with a mental health crisis through this UK HealthCare initiative

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If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide or in distress, please call or text 988 to access the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.  

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 13, 2024) — An hour of your time could help save a life.  

An accessible, potentially life-saving suicide prevention tool is available to the larger Kentucky community. Thanks to a UK HealthCare initiative, QPR training — a research-based emergency mental health training designed to teach people to react in the event of a mental health crisis — is now available online and free statewide.  

The free, self-paced training takes about an hour to complete. It's available 24/7. 

QPR stands for Question, Persuade and Refer — three simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Those trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis, how to respond to someone in crisis and where to refer someone in need of help.  

“It is so helpful that UK HealthCare has taken the lead to provide community helper training through QPR to UK’s campus and the greater Kentucky community,” said Julie Cerel, Ph.D., a suicidologist and UK College of Social Work professor. “Knowing how to ask if someone is thinking about suicide and getting a person at risk to the appropriate resources will help keep people alive.” 

The University of Kentucky community has had access to the online training since last year and the campus recently passed an important milestone — more than 1,000 QPR certifications. 

Due to its impact and uptake on campus, UK HealthCare’s Healthy Kentucky Initiative has strived to make online QPR training easily available statewide.  

Kentucky’s behavioral health needs continue to grow,” said Lindsey Jasinski, Ph.D., the chief administrative officer at Eastern State Hospital.  

“UK HealthCare’s commitment to well-being is evident in this amazing collaboration,” Jasinski said. “QPR and suicide awareness save lives. All of us are impacted by behavioral health needs: ourselves, our loved ones, and our colleagues. Having tools to support each other during times of need is critical, and QPR is an excellent tool for everyone in our community. It takes all of us to promote mental health and well-being, and by doing so, we make each other and Kentucky healthier.” 

Where can I find the training? 

The free and self-paced training is available to: 

Is there in-person training? 

  • Prevention, Outreach, and Wellness Education Resources (POWER) hosts in-person QPR sessions for students throughout the academic year on BBNvolved. You can also contact POWER at for customized in-person QPR training options for students or campus organizations. 

Why QPR training? 

Among Kentuckians ages 10 to 34, suicide is the second leading cause of death. Suicide is a serious public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families and communities. With the right strategies, it’s also preventable.  

Rigorous, independent studies support the efficacy of QPR. QPR is most effective in regions where large portions of the population are trained. The more people are trained the more likely someone is going to step in to help intervene. 

Of those who were certified through the online module, 98% said they believed the training would help them assist someone who is suicidal.  

UK student Alexandrea Shouse said the online QPR training helped equip her with strategies to reach someone in need as well as knowledge of supportive resources. The training reminds her that in a crisis, she could still make a life-saving difference.  

“You could change somebody's life just by saying, ‘Hey, are you OK? And I know of these resources,’” Shouse said. 

As a student leader and mother, Shouse is passionate about advocating for mental health resources and suicide prevention. The current UK communications major was a student representative on the Kentucky Community and Technical College Board of Regents. On the board, Shouse represented Central Kentucky’s Bluegrass Community and Technical College.  

Shouse lost her uncle to suicide in 2007 and has had her own serious bouts with depression and survivor’s guilt. Getting her online QPR certification was both empowering and connective, as it helped Shouse learn about on-campus mental health resources and events that she could use.  

“The more awareness we get, the more community members we get, it’s going to make a difference,” Shouse said.  

Taking an hour to do the training this May — Mental Health Awareness Month — could help save a life later. 

QPR by the numbers 

Online QPR certifications as of April 12: 

  • 1,034 UK students, employees and providers 

  • 73 members of the wider community 

Shouse, who has done both online and in-person QPR trainings, said she enjoyed the sharing and vulnerability that came with the in-person session.  

“You got really vulnerable,” Shouse said, even if it did bring back up some traumatic memories. “In a sense, it helps people that have been through it. Sometimes you need to open up those scars. For me, giving back and helping others, it helps kind of mend it back.”  

For the online training, Shouse enjoyed that she could go at her pace in her own home where she journaled along with the course.  

“It’s worth an hour of your time,” Shouse said.  

Resources for community members 

  • Kentuckians can call or text 988 to connect with suicide prevention, mental health and substance abuse counselors. 


Local student well-being resources  

TRACS (Triage, Referral, Assistance, and Crisis Services) 

24 Hour Helpline 

  • 859-257-8701 

Resources for employee support 

Counseling with a Therapist 

Telehealth from LiveHealth 

  • Anthem 

  • Therapy and prescription medication access 

Critical Incident response 

UK HealthCare is the hospitals and clinics of the University of Kentucky. But it is so much more. It is more than 10,000 dedicated health care professionals committed to providing advanced subspecialty care for the most critically injured and ill patients from the Commonwealth and beyond. It also is the home of the state’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that cares for the tiniest and sickest newborns, the region’s only Level 1 trauma center and Kentucky’s top hospital ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

As an academic research institution, we are continuously pursuing the next generation of cures, treatments, protocols and policies. Our discoveries have the potential to change what’s medically possible within our lifetimes. Our educators and thought leaders are transforming the health care landscape as our six health professions colleges teach the next generation of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals, spreading the highest standards of care. UK HealthCare is the power of advanced medicine committed to creating a healthier Kentucky, now and for generations to come.