QPR for Corrections

Corrections Professionals have a high degree of contact with those at elevated risk of suicide, especially mentally ill offenders, those arrested for the first time, and those facing sentencing whether in jail or on probation. This interactive, multimedia, two-certificate course teaches both students and working professionals how to mitigate the risk of suicide attempts and completions both in and out of correctional facilities.



As background to this building this course, the QPR Institute worked with noted law enforcement and corrections professionals to build a training program designed to meet the needs of those working in correctional facilities and who plan a career in corrections. Some key findings from expert consultation and research were these:

  • Corrections Professionals must deal with suicidal people all the time, both in the pre-attempt phase (when suicidal persons are communicating intent and desire to attempt suicide via suicide warning signs), and after a suicide attempt or completion.
  • Corrections Professionals also have a higher than expected suicide rate compared to other professions.
  • While perceived comfort and competence in conducting suicide interventions or dealing with suicide events varies considerably, many Corrections Professionals have not had specific suicide prevention training that would be beneficial to the health and safety of fellow employees or suicidal inmates.
  • For some learners, only the first few modules (approximately two hours) of this online course may be required by the learner's employer or college instructor. The only certificate earned in this shorter version of the course is the QPR Gatekeeper for Suicide Prevention Certificate.
  • To earn the Corrections Officer Certificate in Suicide Prevention, more work is required. The learner must complete up to 6 hours of online training in this same course. Completing and passing the quizzes in these additional modules qualify the learner to print the Corrections Officer Certificate in Suicide Prevention Certificate. The price for the shorter or longer course is the same, and we encourage all learners to complete the full course if possible. The final exam is a national 25-item test that few health care or mental health professionals can pass without completing this course.
  • The QPR Institute trains and licenses Certified QPR Instructors for those interested in teaching QPR face to face.
  • Finally, the four primary goals of the QPR Institute are these:
    • Raise public awareness about suicide and its prevention.
    • Provide low-cost, high-tech, effective, basic Gatekeeper and intervention skills training to lay persons who may be able to prevent a suicide.
    • Provide suicide prevention and intervention training programs for a variety of professionals and for undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate students preparing for careers in the helping professions.
    • Reduce morbidity and mortality of suicidal patients or inmates served by healthcare or correctional institutions through a systems approach to suicide risk reduction that enhances clinical competencies to assess, monitor, manage and treat patients and inmates known to be at elevated risk for suicidal behaviours.

As of this writing in the winter of 2014, the Institute has trained more than 15,000 Certified Gatekeeper Instructors who have, in turn, trained more than two million gatekeepers worldwide. In addition, thousands of clinical health care providers have been trained in how to detect, assess, and manage suicidal consumers.

If this sounds like an "army" of people helping to prevent suicide, it is. Now, with your help, we will create a new division in that army of educated, trained corrections professionals and people of goodwill to help prevent suicide around the globe.

Suicide is one of the most critical health concerns, both in Australia and on a global scale. In 2015, over 3000 Australians died by suicide. For every suicide death, as many as 25 individuals will attempt suicide, and for some communities, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and LGBTI people, rates of suicide attempts and deaths are even higher.

Over the past decade in Australia, there has been a 20% increase in the number of suicides and suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15-44.

We also know that suicide rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at least twice that of non-Indigenous Australians, and that while women make more suicide attempts, 75% of suicides are by men.

Some people in the community are particularly vulnerable, for example men aged 18 to 24 who have previously served in the Australian Defence Forces are twice as likely to die by suicide as men of the same age in the general population. Other workforces with higher risk of suicide can include those working in agricultural, transport and construction and health sectors.

While expert opinion may differ as to what helper competencies are required to assist suicidal persons achieve the most beneficial outcomes, little controversy exists about the lack of qualified manpower to help the thousands of people who think about, attempt and sometimes die by suicide, including in the world of corrections.

Even among licensed professionals there is a serious lack of systematic training in how to a) detect suicide risk, b) assess immediate risk for suicidal behaviors and c) provide helpful crisis mitigation services to suicidal persons.

The primary mission of the QPR Institute has been to provide technology transfer of evidence-based knowledge into useful skills and helpful interventions for those wishing to assist suicidal persons. To this end, the Institute has developed comprehensive training programs to address the training deficits among clinical providers as outlined in the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, and to provide customized suicide prevention training to match the service setting and the levels of duty professionals in those settings have for the health safety of those they serve.

The history and source of these training programs is derived from earlier research and development work in partnership with Washington State University, The Washington Institute for Mental Health Research, the Washington State Youth Suicide Prevention Program, Spokane Mental Health, and Spokane County Regional Health District.

We believe that crisis volunteers, first responders, emergency services professionals, corrections professionals as well as many others in frequent contact with at risk populations, need to know as much about suicidal behaviors and how to intervene to reduce risk and enhance safety as do trained mental health professionals. To this end, the online program you are about to take is intended to train you in the knowledge and skills you will need to provide competent services in suicide risk detection, initial intervention, how to immediately mitigate the risk of a suicide attempt.

This training is not a substitute for a college degree in counseling or other helping profession, nor can it provide the face-to-face supervised experience those in the helping professions are provided in the course of their professional career development. The program does not teach suicide risk assessment skills. Suicide risk assessment training is provided in other QPR Institute programs.

  • Participants must be at least 18 years of age
  • If employed by, or volunteering for, an organisation, participants agree to accept all expectations and employment rules of their parent organisation. The QPR Institute does not vet or otherwise qualify students for this course.

Modularised in a rich mix of text, video, voice-over PowerPointâ„¢ lectures, interactive practice sessions, and other state-of-the-art interactive and e-learning technologies.

The QPR for Corrections training program provides two certificates. The basic QPR Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention requires 90 minutes to 2 hours of training. The Corrections Certificate in Suicide Prevention requires 6 hours of training and passing a final exam. If the learner passes this national exam, he or she will have demonstrated more knowledge about suicide and its prevention than a large majority of mental health professionals.

From minimum QPR gatekeeper training, participants should be able to:

  • Understand the common myths and facts surrounding suicide
  • Recognise someone at risk of suicide
  • Demonstrate increased knowledge about suicide and its causes
  • Identify unique verbal, behavioural, and situational suicide warning signs
  • Know how to inquire about suicidal intent and desire
  • Know how to engage and assist a suicidal colleague or co-worker
  • Apply QPR with potentially suicidal inmates
  • Demonstrate QPR intervention skills

From the 6-hour certificate program, participants should be able to:

  • Understand suicide as a major public health problem
  • Describe and locate major suicide prevention web sites and online resources
  • Recognise inmates or detainees at risk of suicide
  • Recognise at least three suicide warning signs
  • Recognise and identify at least three risk factors for suicide
  • Recognise and identify at least three protective factors against suicide
  • Understand means restriction and how to immediately reduce risk
  • Understand the nature of suicide and describe at least one theory of suicidal behaviour
  • Describe unique suicide risk factors and warning signs in jail settings
  • Demonstrate basic helping skills following suicide attempts or completions
  • Be familiar with emergency rescue equipment
  • Describe the relationship of mental illness and substance abuse to suicide and understand the fundamentals of our current knowledge about suicide and its prevention