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Buckeye Local students to receive suicide prevention training

CONNORVILLE — Students and staff at Buckeye Local High School received training to help potentially save a life.

Doug Murray, prevention specialist with Family Recovery Center of Steubenville and a certified QPR gatekeeper trainer, met with students and officials for a QPR Institute suicide prevention training session. QPR, which stands for Question, Persuade and Refer, helps identify people who may be experiencing suicidal ideations. Murray will meet with 16 students, or four from each grade level, and said the hour-long event will include videos, a detailed PowerPoint and situational learning exercises.

“By the end of the training, trainees should be able to break the stigma of how to ask the big question like ‘Are you feeling suicidal?’ They will learn to identify direct verbal, indirect verbal, behavioral and situational clues. Trainees will gain the tools to persuade the individual and how to go to about referring them to get help,” Murray explained. “I believe it is important for students to learn QPR because you never know when you could save someone’s life. It could be a peer, parent or even someone in the community that could be saved by someone that is QPR-certified. Suicide is one of the nation’s top causes of death in teens.”

He added that Buckeye Local was the first school to be offered the program and officials quickly jumped on board. It will be available to other schools and community agencies in order to certify more people so they can prevent further suicides and save more lives. The QPR method has been utilized for several years but is new to the area. Murray said he was certified in February and became the only trainer in Jefferson County.

“We hope to train as many students as we can at Buckeye and across the county. We will be doing scheduling with Buckeye Local, other schools and the community as they see fit. We are more than willing to accommodate anyone who wants to become QPR-certified.”

And he said the method works.

“Communities where QPR is taught in schools and around the area have seen a drop in suicide numbers. Just like if someone goes into cardiac arrest surrounded by people who are CPR-certified, they are more likely to survive. It’s the same with QPR and people experiencing suicidal ideations.”

BLHS Principal Luke Parsons said Murray’s role has always been essential while the program would be extremely beneficial.

“Doug been a great asset since I returned to Buckeye at West Elementary and his involvement with the students and myself grew once I started at the high school last year,” Parsons added, saying Murray contacted him this summer and discussed the program. “He started discussing the program he was trained on over quarantine called QPR and I was hooked. (BLHS Dean of Students) Janelle Windsheimer, the office staff and I spoke continuously over quarantine and summer about the mental health of our students and it was always priority No. 1, so when Doug started talking about a way to have students and the office staff become certified in a program that would be able to detect suicidal tendencies within our student body, how could I pass it up?”

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