QPR Screening Course

Many agencies and organisations now require screening for suicide risk. Learn how to use an evidence-based, registered best practice screening tool designed and adapted for both youth and adults. This screening protocol can be used in any setting, including schools, dental, medical clinics, hospitals, mental health centres, correctional facilities, or others.

The course includes Level I QPR Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention and an approved, brief edition of the Counselling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM) best practice registered training program.

This 2-hour training program addresses suicide screening of adults and children in all mental health, educational, correctional, oral health, and medical settings. The learner may skip irrelevant modules. As an approved adaptation of the NREPP-listed QPR Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention training program, this course does not address suicide risk assessment, risk formulation, or clinical decision making based upon a risk stratification determination.


This course teaches how to identify patients at risk and how to conduct an evidence-based screening interview, as well has how to reduce risk, make a referral and enhance patient safety.

The program also includes additional content covering the following:

  • Prevalence of suicide, risk and protective factors.
  • Basic helping skills for suicidal people
  • How to communicate effectively with suicidal individuals, attempt survivors, and those who have lost loved ones to suicide.
  • How to immediately reduce the risk of a suicide attempt

Please note that this is not a train-the-trainer program and this course DOES NOT INCLUDE SUICIDE RISK ASSESSMENT training.  Please select another course if you are tasked with assessing suicide risk for clinical decision making or disposition.

Note that this training program is intended to prevent suicide not just among patients, but among colleagues, co-workers and family members.

Why this training program?:

  • Many professionals have a high degree of line-of-duty exposure to suicidal behaviors, 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.
  • In your professional role you may serve known at-risk groups, including adolescents, veterans, the elderly, those with recent serious career-changing injuries or illnesses, and persons with existing mental illnesses.
  • While perceived comfort and competence in conducting suicide screenings and/or interventions may vary, many professionals have not had specific suicide prevention training which would be beneficial to the health and safety of fellow employees or suicidal students, patients, inmates, or others they serve. This course helps remedy this training deficit.

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 early 2016, the Institute has trained more than two million gatekeepers worldwide. In addition, thousands of clinical health care providers have been trained in how to detect, assess, manage, and treat 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 healers to help prevent suicide around the globe.

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. For this reason alone, new state laws are being passed to improve the capacity of health professionals to respond effectively to suicidal patients.

Organisations like the Joint Commission also recognise the need for better detection of potentially suicidal persons served by a wide variety of professionals.

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 both editions of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, and to provide customised suicide prevention training to match the service setting and the levels of duty professionals in those settings have for the health and 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 (now Frontier Behavioural Health), and Spokane County Regional Health District.

We know that all manner of professionals are in frequent contact with at-risk populations. In our view, these professionals need to know as much as possible about suicidal behaviours and how to screen and intervene with those at risk of suicide. Learning to recognise and respond to possible suicide warning signs, how to screen for risk, and how to facilitate a competent referral and follow-up safety plan is key to preventing suicide.

This training is not a substitute for a university degree in counselling or other mental health 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 e-learning technologies, the QPR Screening training program provides a dynamic introduction to suicide risk detection, intervention, means restriction, referral and follow up.

Participants who complete this course 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
  • Know how to inquire about suicidal intent and desire
  • 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
  • Describe "means restriction" and life-saving action steps
  • Know materials, phone numbers, and patient/family information to provide at discharge or point of care site
  • Understand the nature of suicide and describe at least one theory of suicidal behaviour
  • Demonstrate increased knowledge about suicide and its causes
  • Engage in an interactive and helpful conversation with someone who has attempted suicide (optional bonus module)
  • Engage in an interactive and helpful conversation with the loved ones or family members of someone who has died by suicide (optional bonus module)