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Question, Persuade, Refer


Students will learn to identify signs of suicide and identify and practice the skills of questioning, persuading and referring.


Intended Learning Outcomes

  • Identify the warning signs of suicide.
  • Identify and practice the skills of questioning, persuading and referring.

Instructional Procedures

Lesson at a Glance

  1. Discuss warning signs of suicide.
  2. Discuss and practice skills of QPR.
  3. Students complete the "Ask a Question, Save a Life" worksheet.
  4. Small groups complete one of the "What's Going On" worksheets.

New Vocabulary

  • suicide
  • QPR
  • warning signs

Introduction (Setting Focus)

  1. Most people who attempt suicide give some warning clue.
  2. Some warning signs of suicide include:
    1. Sudden or extreme changes in moods or personality.
    2. Prolonged depression.
    3. Consistent low energy level.
    4. Avoidance of activities with friends or family.
    5. Taking greater risks than usual.
    6. Substance abuse.
    7. Giving away prized possessions.
    8. Talking about death or making suicide attempts.
    9. Making suicide threats.
  3. Some responses to a threatened suicide might be:
    1. Assume it is a joke and laugh it off.
    2. Ignore it.
    3. Get mad, lecture or criticize.
    4. Tell someone.
    5. Talk to the friend about the threats.
  4. Suicide is a serious matter and suicide warnings and threats should not be ignored.
  5. Friends should take the threat seriously, show a caring attitude, remain calm and listen, and use the skills learned in this lesson to offer help.

Body (Strategies/Activities)

  1. Introduce the concept of "QPR" or Question, Persuade, Refer.
  2. Compare the use of QPR with CPR (Cardiopulmonary Respiration).
    1. Both are lifesaving techniques if used properly.
    2. Both require practice to be used effectively.
    3. Both must be used after the warning signs of need are detected.
  3. Question
    1. As with CPR, the first step is to determine if the person is okay.
    2. Discuss the contents of the "Question" poster.
  4. Persuade
    1. As with CPR, the victim is "persuaded" to live by doing chest compressions and by blowing into the person's lungs.
    2. QPR offers suggestions to help a person get help.
    3. Discuss the contents of the "Persuade" poster.
  5. Refer
    1. It is important to seek professional help after giving lifesaving CPR, just as it is important to get professional help after using QPR.
    2. Discuss the contents of the "Refer" poster.
  6. Students review the steps of QPR and how to use QPR by completing the "Ask a Question, Save a Life" worksheet as each topic is discussed.
  7. Small groups of students complete one of the "What's Going On" worksheets.

Closure (Wrap-Up and Extension)

  1. Discuss the importance of taking action if someone is considering suicide.
  2. Review the warning signs and the techniques of QPR intervention.
  3. Write local agencies and resources in the "Community Resources" section of the "QPR" cards found in this lesson before you distribute them to students. Use the "Ghostbuster" theme song and ask, "Who Ya Gonna Call?"

Created: 12/16/2009
Updated: 01/22/2020