As part of the ESU5 Mental Health’s teams goal to further mental wellness for all in the schools, this fall Jen McNally and Cole Stark who are both certified QPR instructors once again took on the task of training ESU5 staff as well as staff and students across 8 school districts in the importance of suicide awareness and prevention. QPR, which stands for Question, Persuade, Refer, is a nationally recognized suicide awareness program that fulfills state requirements for yearly training for school staff. Between Jen and Cole, they have presented QPR more than 30 times this fall, reaching school staff, and students 6th grade through 12th grade.
QPR fits in well with the Mental Health Team’s goals of making mental wellness for all, and the importance of self care common language in the area school districts. By supporting staff and students with tools to improve their own wellness, and destigmatizing mental health and wellness, schools are experiencing students and staff that are more willing to talk openly about struggles and successes in their lives, and more prepared to handle difficult situations that they encounter. This is evident in the fact that after these trainings, students and staff often approach Jen and Cole, asking for advice, sharing their own stories, or voicing concerns that the training made them more aware of and willing to address.
Healthy schools, start with healthy individuals, and QPR is just one of many tools provided by the Mental Health Team that ESU5 schools have embraced to further the goals of wellness for all.