'Asking about suicide will not increase the risk or put the idea in their mind'

'Asking about suicide will not increase the risk or put the idea in their mind' »Play Video
Sandy Moses, Lane County's suicide prevention coordinator

EUGENE, Ore. - How do you know if someone feels suicidal?

And if you recognize the danger, how can you help?

A workshop Saturday goes over the basics of a strategy called QPR - a play on CPR which stands for question, persuade, refer.

The Lane County Public Health workshop at the Eugene Library will go over information on the warning signs of suicide and depression - and how to persuade a suicidal individual to get help.

Sandy Moses, Lane County's suicide prevention coordinator, said the workshop aims to "reduce the stigma with regards to suicide mental illness help seeking, and that's important across the board if we're going to be a healthier community. The other thing is awareness, and if we don't have the information, if we just are basing our actions on either fear or misinformation, then we're not going to have an impact."

Moses said just as it's important to have a physical first aid kit stocked with things like ointments and bandages, it's just as important to have mental health first aid kit.

"In our mental aid first aid kit, it might not be the same for everyone," she said, "but what are strategies, what are resources, what are some things that make us feel good mentally and physically, who are people we can go to, what are the resources and have those handy."

One of the tools: recognize the triggers.

"A lot of stresses involve previous trauma, alcohol and drug abuse - these things can increase your risks and also isolation," she said.

Another: be direct.

"Ask them outright in a way you're comfortable with, a way that's nonjudgmental," Moses said, "because what we do know is asking about suicide will not increase the risk or put the idea in their mind but rather it will reduce the stress that's associated with the condition."

The workshop is Saturday at 2 p.m. For more information, visit www.preventionlane.org.