Suicide prevention resources around Central Kentucky

Clark County Health Department will be offering a QPR class July 6th from 2-4 P.M.

WINCHESTER, Ky. (WTVQ) – A local health department will begin suicide prevention courses Wednesday, known as a QPR class. It comes ahead of the nationwide adoption of the three-digit mental health crisis number 988.

According to the Clark County Health Department, QPR stands for question, persuade and refer, the three steps to helping prevent suicide.

“Really what that looks like is questioning somebody, you know they may have stated something to you, shared something with you, so further exploring that. Persuading them to seek that additional support and then referring them on to someone who can offer them more support,” says Melissa Sparks, director of community services at the Clark County Health Department.

The health department says over the last 20 years, suicide has increased by 30%. In Kentucky, one person dies by suicide every 12 hours. The Clark County Health Department says being QPR trained is just as valuable as being CPR or Heimlich Maneuver trained and can help save thousands of lives.

“It is a serious public health concern that leaves immeasurable pain for families, individuals, communities, the state, and nationwide,” says Sparks. “So we decided that we really wanted to offer QPR to the community because of those statistics.”

The Clark County Health Department’s QPR class will be held Wednesday afternoon from 2-4 at 400 Professional Avenue. For more information on how to register, message the health department Facebook page at the link HERE.

Starting July 16th, another resource will be available across the country to help. 988 is the three-digit phone number for mental health crises. Some mental health professionals say unlike 911, it doesn’t have to be an emergency to call 988. They say people can call just when they’re going through a hard time and need someone to listen.

“Here in Kentucky, our 988 system is connected through our community mental health centers,” says Marcie Timmerman, executive director of Mental Health America of Kentucky. “13 of the 14 community mental health centers are answering the calls. So, they get the local person that has the resources to get them to someone right away and that’s the part I think is game-changing, it’s just amazing here.”

For more information on what 988 will be like in Kentucky, visit Mental Health America of Kentucky’s informational website at the link HERE.

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