HUNDREDS of frontline workers have taken the equivalent of a first-aid course in saving lives threatened by suicide.
The suicide prevention charity Console has sponsored a series of one-day training sessions for gardai, youth and community workers and counsellors, using the pioneering American suicide prevention strategy know as "QPR".
Taking a cue from the life-saving technique "CPR" or cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, QPR – which stands for "Question, Persuade and Refer" – has been used in the US for the past 30 years.
Console Director of Services Ciaran Austin said the one-day training sessions are aimed at so-called gatekeepers – such as parents, friends and neighbours – as well as frontline workers.
"It's a very accessible gatekeeper programme for people in a caregiving setting or those who may come into contact with people who are suicidal," he said.
The recent media focus on suicide – which is believed to claim more than 700 lives here each year – has led to a surge of interest in suicide prevention, he added.
Anyone interested in more information on the workshops can contact Console at www.console.ie, or its national helpline on 1 800 201 890.