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Taney County, Missouri Health Department Staff Receive QPR Suicide Prevention Training

BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) – Taney County Health Department staff were recently trained in a suicide prevention program.

The program is called QPR, which stands for question, persuade, refer. Three steps anyone can learn to help prevent suicide. Taney County health officials hope to expand the training to other agencies in the community to ensure they can handle mental health crises and emergencies.

Suicide is the ninth leading cause of death in Missouri and the second leading cause of death among young adults ages 10 to 17. Kara Miller, Taney County Community Health Educator, says there is still a lot of stigma around this topic.

“It’s a mental health issue,” Miller said. “I think the more we talk about mental health issues because mental health is health, we need to make sure these people aren’t forgotten.”

Miller says the training is only an hour long and can be tailored to different populations.

“We have one specifically for law enforcement, specifically for youth, and specifically for veterans,” Miller said. “This is a demographic that has been shown to have high suicide rates.”

Branson’s House of Hope staff recently learned the QPR method. The organization’s community partner, Melanie Sawatzki, says more and more people are suffering from depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts or tendencies.

“It takes so much courage to talk about it, so having that training is really important,” Sawatzki said. “When someone talks about it, we are there to welcome it. With kindness, grace, love, and a plan to help them grow from there.

Sawatzki says it’s important for people who are struggling to know that they are not alone, and there is help and resources available to help them through this ordeal. She also says the more we talk about mental health, the more people will feel comfortable sharing.

“I hope the community will grow in communicating value and value,” Sawatzki said. “Everyone needs validation, and everyone needs to know they’re important, loved, and wanted.”

Miller says if other community organizations are interested in enrolling in QPR training, contact the health department.

You can contact the health department at 417-334-4544, EXT 594.

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