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QPR at Herzing: How Suicide Prevention Training Can Shape a Compassionate Community

Herzing University is working to help all nurses, healthcare professionals and community members open up about mental health challenges and the continuing stigma around suicide.

Suicide is often described as a permanent solution to a temporary situation. For those individuals who have had family, friends, or loved ones die by suicide, it can leave a permanent impact and a hole in the heart that never fully heals. As healthcare workers, you will face moments where you look back and wish that you could have done more, recognized a sign earlier or been able to help someone locate the resources they needed when they needed them the most. 

Herzing University is working to help all nurses, healthcare professionals and community members open up about mental health challenges and the continuing stigma around suicide. Through a new partnership with the QPR Institute, Herzing has hosted an informative online suicide prevention training that can be the first step to saving a life.

QPR — short for Question, Persuade, Refer — is a dynamic suicide prevention training that equips individuals with the tools to recognize warning signs of suicide and intervene effectively. Similar to how CPR empowers people to respond to physical emergencies, QPR teaches a three-step process aimed at bringing a voice and a spotlight to the often silent crises that occur when people begin to think about suicide.

“These trainings provide participants with the crucial skills to become gatekeepers—individuals strategically positioned to identify, engage, and refer those at risk for professional help,” shared Heidi Pritzl, Psychotherapist and Suicide Prevention Specialist Master & Gatekeeper Trainer for the QPR Institute.  “Every member of the Herzing community, from faculty and staff to students, plays a crucial role as gatekeepers. We must understand the responsibility that comes with this position — the ability to recognize a crisis and extend a lifeline.”

CPR and QPR are integral components of a life-saving "Chain of Survival" system. This chain involves early recognition, CPR, defibrillator use and advanced life support in emergency cardiac care. Similarly, QPR establishes a parallel Chain of Survival for suicide prevention, emphasizing early recognition of warning signs, prompt QPR intervention, referral to resources, and early advanced life support.

Since 2000, suicide rates have increased by 40% and now account for one death every 11 minutes, prompting communities nationwide to strategize on the most effective way to create an informed, compassionate, and proactively alert community. With Herzing’s emphasis on nursing and other crucial healthcare degrees, a partnership with QPR Institute was a natural collaboration.

“At Herzing, we recognize that education is not just about degrees; it's about creating a community that cares. QPR, with its emphasis on suicide prevention, perfectly aligns with our campus-wide vision for empowering and educating our community,” said HERZING REP. “This training goes beyond classroom walls, fostering a culture where every member of Herzing becomes a compassionate caretaker, regardless of their degree.”

The partnership between Herzing and QPR is an investment in saving lives and breaks down stigmas surrounding the complex challenges of mental health. Empowering individuals to recognize warning signs and intervene transforms communities into supportive networks.

“This is more than a training, it's a commitment to building a community of caring individuals who can make a difference in the lives of those struggling with suicidal thoughts and mental health challenges,” Pritzl shared. “Partnering with an institution like Herzing allows us to empower others through education, effectively fostering an environment where everyone is equipped to be a supportive ally in the fight against suicide.”

Attendees of Herzing’s QPR training will benefit by being able to address mental health issues, reduce existing stigma and more fully understand the intricacies of the prevention process.
 In fostering a culture of well-being, Herzing sees that mental health extends beyond just targeted training programs. Broader commitment requires delivering comprehensive resources such as stress management techniques, cognitive therapy approaches and ongoing conversations with university and community leaders about bringing light to topics around mental health. 

“These trainings are a call to action. By educating today, we are saving lives tomorrow and creating a more accepting and connected community long term,” said Pritzl. “Together, we are not just learning; we are shaping a future of empathy, understanding, and resilience.”

For more information on upcoming QPR trainings, connect with the QPR Institute online or visit your local Herzing campus Student Services Department.

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* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics 2023 / Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

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