Mindy Tate’s photo

In April 2020, at Franklin Tomorrow’s Breakfast with the Mayors event, Mayor Ken Moore announced the launch of Find Hope Franklin. This initiative is a byproduct of the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force, which was formed in 2019 to address mental health and addiction issues in Franklin and Williamson counties.

This month, Mindy Tate, executive director of Franklin Tomorrow, answers five questions about QPR.

What is QPR?

QPR stands for Question Persuade Refer, which is an international program created in 1955 by Paul Quinnett. The mission is to reduce suicidal behavior and save lives by providing innovative, practical and proven suicide prevention training. Through QPR training, individuals are educated on the known warning signs of a suicidal crisis: expressions of despair, depression, giving away valuable possessions, talking about suicide, obtaining lethal means, and then learning how to respond.

Although we enjoy a wonderful quality of life here in Franklin and Williamson County, many people experience the warning signs mentioned above and by attending a QPR course, individuals may have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the life of someone they know and maybe even someone they don’t know.

Do I need special training to take a course?

No. Those who take a QPR course are individuals interested in being a good neighbor, relative, colleague or friend. QPR training is an offshoot of Franklin Mayor Ken Moore’s Find Hope Franklin initiative, which has a mission to reduce stigma and educate the public on how to help themselves and other members of community who may be experiencing a mental health crisis or episode.

Because of the nature of suicidal warning signs and who is most likely to recognize and respond to them, the QPR Institute suggests that the goal of one in four people be trained in a gatekeeper role. basis for suicide prevention in the United States and other countries. . Because suicides occur in families – where emergency response is more likely to take place – they also believe that at least one person per family unit should be trained in QPR, although those taking the course must be 18 years of age or older.

How did Franklin Tomorrow get involved?

Franklin Tomorrow was invited to be part of Mayor Ken Moore’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Mental Health, which became Find Hope Franklin. We also participate in the Williamson County Board of Health, which also identified mental health as an area of ​​concern in the 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment. A grant was awarded by Vanderbilt University Medical Center the same year , which has allowed us to form a contingent of volunteers to deliver QPR courses throughout the community in various locations and for the general public.

Class sizes are limited to a maximum of 35 people per class, and in conjunction with other organizations, such as The Refuge Center and Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, hundreds of people have been trained in QPR in our community.

When is the next training?

September is Suicide Awareness Month and so we have several sessions planned by the end of this month at various locations in the community. Dates can be found via this link or just send me an email expressing your interest.

Additionally, we are open to requests from specific groups, such as neighborhood associations, church groups, or civic clubs, to provide training directly to them. The training lasts approximately one hour, depending on the questions asked during the presentation, and we require the ability to guide participants through a Powerpoint presentation.

Why should I get involved?

While most of us want to believe that we will not experience the death by suicide of a friend, co-worker or family member, we may simply not be aware of the circumstances. For every death by suicide, 115 people are affected and exposed. Research shows that among those who express suicidal thoughts, most would tell a friend or colleague rather than a professional. Often the simple offer of hope and social and spiritual support can avert a suicide attempt entirely, and therefore the more people trained in QPR, the more lives saved.