County employees to undergo suicide prevention training

FILE PHOTO

Cache County Council members were presented with a sobering and concerning fact during Tuesday night’s council meeting.

According to Terryl Warner, Director of Cache County Victim Services, “We had four suicides in eight days.” She said, “That doesn’t include the attempts that we had, which were multiple attempts. We clearly have a problem.”

In an effort to help tackle the problem, Warner is working with Councilwoman Gina Worthen to help train county employees in suicide prevention.

Warner and Worthen are hoping to implement a nationally recognized suicide training program called QPR – Question, Persuade and Refer.

QPR is intended to teach individuals how to recognize the warning signs of suicide, and provides guidelines on how to:

  • Question a person about potential suicidal thoughts
  • Persuade them to seek help
  • Refer them to appropriate professional services

The proposal, brought before council members, will begin with the training of three county employees, including Worthen. They will then instruct other county staff, law enforcement, ecclesiastical leaders and employees from cities within the county.

“This lets friends and family, whoever they’re reaching out to, know how to handle the situation,” said Worthen. “I wouldn’t know what to do.”

Warner said Utah has five times the national average of teen suicides.

“It’s a serious problem,” she said. “In fact, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) is watching Utah because we have so many youth completing suicide and attempting suicide.”

“A lot of the focus tends to be on the youth suicides, but what we’re seeing (in Cache County) is primarily adult males,” she said.

Once Worthen and other county employees are certified in QPR, the goal is to offer training to others in the community free of charge.

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