Counseling Center Providing Suicide Prevention Training

The Counseling Center is providing two one-hour QPR suicide prevention training sessions this fall semester to students, staff and faculty.

Several students and faculty attended the first session via Microsoft Teams on Sept. 9, and the second session will be on Oct. 9, starting at 11 a.m. 

The program is federally funded by the help of Prevent Suicide WV and the West Virginia College Initiative to Address High-Risk Alcohol Use, who trains counselors across the state of West Virginia to provide free suicide prevention training in QPR.

QPR is a suicide prevention technique that allows certified gatekeepers to question a person about suicide, persuade them to get help and refer them to the appropriate resource.

“QPR is not intended to be a form of counseling or treatment,” Ray Blevins, mental health specialist, said. “It is intended to offer hope through positive action.”

Blevins said anyone can prevent one from suicide if they learn how to correctly notice the signs and ask the right questions. 

Some clues to notice if someone suicidal is talking about suicide or wishing to be dead, or behavioral clues such as previous suicide attempt(s), acquiring a gun, stockpiling pills, co-occurring depression, or giving away prized possessions. Suicidal thoughts may also be triggered by changes such as being fired from a job, expelled from school, a recent unwanted move, loss of a major relationship, death of someone close, or a diagnosis of a serious or terminal illness. 

Candance D. Layne, Counseling Center director, said it is important for everyone to be trained on suicide prevention.

“Students are able to intervene with peers and friends much easier and sometimes better than faculty and staff,” Layne said. “We need to be aware of ways to help others with mental health concerns.”

All those who attend the training will be a certified QPR suicide prevention gatekeeper for 3 years. 

The purpose of QPR training is to recognize the warning signs and suicidal communications of people and gain skills to prevent a possible tragedy.

Angel Chornsbay, freshman psychology major, said having access to trainings like these can help students save a life. 

“There are a lot of do’s and don’ts for this touchy subject,” Chornsbay said. “Anyone can be placed in a situation where they may not know how to respond, but these trainings help you with that.”

Chornsbay said she has been in a situation before with someone who was suicidal and did not know how to properly respond but now feels comfortable after the QPR training.

The Counseling Center also provides other workshops and trainings such as the homesickness survival kit, mindfulness for the college stu- dent, relaxation techniques in a fast-paced world, stomp out stress and safe zone training.

To register for the October training, email counselingcenter@mar-

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Xena Bunton can be contacted at [email protected].