HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital, Chippewa Falls, 2021 Community Benefit

Three Steps to Potentially Saving a Life

Every day, we may be encountering someone who is struggling with their mental health and thoughts of suicide. Between the years 2000-2017, the rates of suicide were significantly higher* in Chippewa and Eau Claire counties compared to the Wisconsin state average. Suicide is a complex issue that can be challenging to understand. 
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital provided free, virtual QPR classes to local schools, service agencies and community members. QPR, guided by certified instructors, is a training designed to teach specific tactics to help prevent suicide. For 90 minutes, participants learn the signs of suicide and three basic principles of how to help save a life. 
So, what does QPR stand for? 
Question the person you are concerned about to find out if they are feeling suicidal. 
Persuade the person to get help. 
Refer them to a local resource best able to help them. 
“Suicide is very hard for most people to talk about,” said Laura Baalrud, former community health educator at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital. “Through QPR training, we open up the dialogue about mental health and suicidal feelings to help reduce the stigma that surrounds these subjects.” 
Between November 2020 and June 2021, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital provided QPR training to more than 280 attendees. Through the 2015, 2018 and 2021 Community Health Needs Assessments, mental health has been identified as a top health priority for Chippewa and Eau Claire counties. 
*Prevent Suicide Wisconsin. Suicide in Wisconsin: Impact and Response. September 2020.