QPR for Physicians, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, and others

This two-certificate training program targets patient safety, teaches a suicide screening tool, a best practice rapid assessment protocol, and updates emerging practice standards. The course addresses suicide among physicians and includes a 45-minute lecture on how to prevent veteran suicide. The QPR for Physicians, Physician Assistants, and Nurse Practitioners is intended to prevent suicide not just among patients, but among colleagues, co-workers, and family members. The minimum QPR certificate requires approximately 2+ hours of training. A certificate for the full course requires 6 hours of training and passing a clinical and content exam.

Level I QPR Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention is included in the modules and is the most researched, tested, and evaluated universal suicide intervention program available today. Taught to almost 2 million people by 15,000 instructors since 1998, the intervention has been adapted for a variety of settings, e.g., law enforcement, medical, schools, and others. QPR training is supported by dozens of published studies, which include four large random clinical trials - the gold standard for evidence of effectiveness. Please see the official listing and description at: http://www.nrepp.samhsa.gov/ViewIntervention.aspx?id=299


As background to this building this course, the QPR Institute worked with a number of organizations to tailor this training to the needs of learners. The course has been beta tested and peer reviewed with primary care medical providers, e.g., family medicine residents and their faculty. The core QPR training is now listed in the National Registry of Evidence-based Practices and Policies.

What we do know to justify this training:

  • Primary care providers have a high degree of line-of-duty exposure to suicidal behaviours, 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.
  • Suicide is a too common cause of death among medical professionals.
  • As health care professionals, PCPs also have higher-than-expected exposures to secondary trauma resulting from suicidal behaviours, particularly in the ED.
    While perceived comfort and competence in conducting suicide interventions or dealing with suicide events varies considerably, and according to the National

For some learners, only the first few modules (approximately three 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 full course certificate, 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 QPR for Primary Care Provider 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 25-item test that few health care or mental health professionals can pass without completing this course or one like it.

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, students, and employees through a systems approach to suicide risk reduction that enhances detection of suicidal behaviours and those clinical competencies necessary to assess, manage, monitor, and treat patients 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 primary care professionals to help prevent suicide across Australia.

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.

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 improve suicide prevention skills among clinical providers in their gatekeeper roles as outlined in The Living is For Everyone: A framework for prevention of suicide in Australia (2007), 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 know that PCPs are in frequent contact with at-risk populations and 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 assessment, and how to immediately mitigate the risk of a suicide attempt.

As you will learn in this course, exposure to suicidal patients "goes with the territory" of those in primary care settings.

This training is not a substitute for a university degree in counselling 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 organization, 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.

Modularized 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 PCPs training program provides two certificates.

The basic QPR Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention requires 2+ hours of training.

The QPR for Primary Care Providers in Suicide Prevention requires 6 hours of training and passing a final national exam. If the learner passes this exam, he or she will have demonstrated more knowledge about suicide and its prevention than a large majority of mental health professionals.

From minimum gatekeeper training, participants should be able to:

  • Understand suicide as a major public health problem
  • Understand the common myths and facts surrounding suicide
  • Identify unique verbal, behavioural, and situational suicide warning signs
  • Recognise and screen someone at risk of suicide, with a focus on Emergency
  • Department patients
  • Know how to inquire about suicidal intent and desire
  • Know how to inquire about capacity for suicide and self injurious behaviour
  • Recognise at least three suicide warning signs
  • Recognise at least three risk factors for suicide
  • Recognise at least three protective factors against suicide
  • Demonstrate increased knowledge, skills, self-efficacy and intent to act to intervene with suicidal people and patients
  • Know how to engage and assist a suicidal colleague or co-worker
  • Know the difference between "known at risk" patients and "unknown at risk" patients
  • Know how to conduct a brief triage assessment of acute suicide risk
  • Describe "means restriction" and identify individual characteristics and hospital environmental features that may increase or decrease the risk for suicide
  • Address immediate patient safety needs and determine most appropriate setting for care
  • Know materials, phone numbers, and patient/family information to provide at discharge or point of care site
  • Be familiar with "hand off" procedures for patients at risk for suicide

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

  • Understand the nature of suicide and describe at least one theory of suicidal behaviour
  • Describe and locate major suicide prevention web sites and online resources
  • Demonstrate increased knowledge about suicide and its causes
  • Engage in an interactive and helpful conversation with someone who has attempted suicide
  • Engage in an interactive and helpful conversation with the loved ones or family members of someone who has died by suicide
  • Describe clinical groups at high risk for suicide
  • Describe how and why "suicide proofing" an inpatient room and ward may prevent adverse events.
  • Describe the relationship of mental illness and substance abuse to suicide and understand the fundamentals of our current knowledge about suicide and its prevention