WellSpan Philhaven teaches classes on suicide awareness, response

MT. GRETNA, Pa. (WHTM) – Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the second leading cause of death among people ages 25 to 34, according to WellSpan Health. The healthcare organization offers two classes that teach the warning signs to look out for.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. WellSpan Health offers classes in hopes of preventing another tragedy.

“The scale from zero to 10, I believe, is a 10,” said Roberto Valdes, a counselor.

Valdez knows about the importance of suicide prevention. Both of his parents died from it.

“Any tips, even those that are small, can help a lot of people,” Valdez said.

Valdez is learning how to prevent and recognize signs someone may be suicidal in a QPR class.

“It stands for question, persuade, refer,” Jayne Miller with WellSpan Philhaven said.

Miller is one of the instructors in the class. She says the epidemic is increasing in central Pennsylvania.

“We’re losing too many people to suicide. We lose over 44,000 people in the U.S. every year,” Miller said.

Businesses, community members, and educators can learn the signs to watch out for and what to do about it.

“Your sleep is affected in some way. Either you’re sleeping too much or not sleeping well. Your appetite can be affected. You’re not eating a whole lot, or you’re eating too much, and your energy level is almost always down,” said John Noullet with WellSpan Philhaven.

“It’s learning how to have a dialog and ask the right questions and then get that person help,” Miller said.

About 121 people complete suicide in the U.S. each day.

“One life lost to suicide is one too many,” Miller said.

“It’s the equivalent of packing up a 737 full of people and crashing it into a mountain, everybody dies, and you do that 365 days a year,” Noullet said.

The classes are free. WellSpan Philhaven offers another class on mental health first aid which teaches people how to respond to a crisis. For more information on QPR classes, click here.


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