QQQ 25 December 12, 2018: US National Football League Takes Bold Steps to Open Discussion with Players and other Staff Members about Feelings of Depression and Suicide

QPR Quick Quotes 24 November 28, 2018 US National Football League Takes Bold Steps to Open Discussion with Players and other Staff Members about Feelings of Depression and Suicide
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                                                                  December 12, 2018
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US National Football League Takes Bold Steps to
    Open Discussion with Players and other Staff
       Members about Feelings of Depression and
                                                                                           -Carolyn V. Coarsey, Ph.D.

 “Your odds of dying by suicide are greatly reduced if everyone
around you knows what to do when you are in psychological
trouble and signaling for help."  

                                                                                     -Paul Quinnett, Ph.D.,
                                                                                       Founder & CEO, QPR Institute

At the Family Assistance Foundation, we follow the QPR models due to the
practical nature of the approach, “Ask a Question, Save Life.” In the
previous QPR Quick Quote article, we provided many examples where
members of our organization have made it their business to become
involved in discussions with team members, friends and family members
when they have a concern about their well-being. Because suicidal people
typically don’t ask for help or seek treatment for depression, and trained
counseling professionals are likely not present to notice changes that
might indicate there are problems, this approach is working for many of
our members and followers.
We were most-heartened to see that as awareness of the suicide
crisis in the US and many parts of the world becomes better understood,
many groups are taking action to address their own team members. The
recent announcement that an American professional football team, the
Carolina Panthers had hired their own in-house clinical mental health
professional was described in an ESPN blog as ‘a game changer.’ While the
media often receives criticism for the detailed reports about celebrity
suicides, the positive side of their coverage is the awareness their stories
create. Once a taboo subject, men as well as women are now being
encouraged to talk about thoughts of suicide and other problems more
openly without threat of reprisal.
According to ESPN Blog Staff writer, David Newton (November 7, 2018),
most National Football League (NFL) teams have licensed mental health
practitioners available for players and staff members on a contract basis.
However, the professional psychologist hired to serve the Panthers’ team,
has an office at Bank of America Stadium. Being on site allows her to
observe any changes in mood or behavior of the players that could be
early warning signs of a potential crisis.
For an NFL team to bring a mental health professional in-house is an ideal
way to address newer findings as to which groups may be higher risk for
death by suicide. An article published in Suicide Prevention,
(November 16, 2018) describing the increase in suicide rates of men in
America, indicated that while men working in the construction and
extraction fields were considered to be the greatest risk; suicide rates
have now increased in the arts, entertainment, sports and media
occupations. News stories involving homicides, suicides and other acts of
violence associated with athletes and other entertainers support these
The suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade led Carolina’s all-time
leading receiver, Steve Smith to speak out about his own bouts with
depression and thoughts of suicide. His comments and similar ones from
numerous players were reported in conjunction with the news of the
hiring of their in-house mental health professional. A former player with
the Baltimore Ravens and the Carolina Panthers described having
experienced times when he felt “trapped, inferior and alone". Other
players, both active and retired were quoted as having experienced
thoughts of suicide and problems with depression. 
While news reports about suicides and other violent acts associated with
celebrities helps create greater awareness, the downside includes the
degree to which some details are reported. When actor Robin Williams
took his life in 2014, both his methods and motives were covered in
great detail. Researchers calculated as many as 1800 more suicides
than otherwise would have been expected in the next four months,
using the same method. Some believe that journalists should cover such
tragedies in less details and with more restraint. 
The details of a particular celebrity’s suicide act could be associated with
future suicides is no doubt alarming. However, the tragic deaths of
well-known people causing others to disclose their own issues with
depression and personal suffering, is no doubt encouraging. It is especially
encouraging when it leads to an NFL team bringing their own in-house
professional into their midst on a daily basis.

In the US, the suicide rate for men is about three and a half times that of
women. According to an article in the November 16, 2018, issue of 
Suicide Prevention, this is probably because men are less likely to seek
help or talk to one another when they’re in trouble. Having a professional
onsite is believed to go a long way in helping those at risk have better
opportunities for talking about problems and having a better chance of
someone else noticing when things don’t seem quite right. “Knowing who
is at greater risk for suicide can help save lives through focused
prevention efforts,” Dr. Debra Houry, Director of CDC’s National Center
for Injury Prevention and Control was quoted as saying to ABC News.

"Suicide prevention is not so much the stopping of a self-inflicted
death as it is the restoration of hope in the hopeless before the
fatal planning begins."
                                                            -Paul Quinnett, Ph.D.,
                                                             Founder & CEO, QPR Institute

Encouraging people to talk about problems with the context of offering
support and assistance is what QPR is all about. At the Foundation we
offer classes on how to become a Gatekeeper as well as how to become a


If you are interested in learning more about how to become a Gatekeeper
and becoming part of a more extensive network that is dedicated to
suicide prevention, see www.qprinstitute.com. To learn more about the
training classes offered by the Family Assistance Foundation and for
information about upcoming Gatekeeper classes and how you can
become a trainer within your workplace go to fafonline.org. You can also
contact Stephen Young at stephen.young@aviem.com.

Upcoming Gatekeeper Trainings

Hong Kong Gatekeeper Training
January 22, 2019

Hong Kong Train-the-Trainer
January 25, 2019

Burbank Gatekeeper Training
April 5, 2019

Burbank Train-the-Trainer
April 5, 2019

Atlanta Gatekeeper Training
Dates to be determined, Fall 2019

Atlanta Train-the-Trainer Training
Dates to be determined, Fall 2019

QPR Gatekeeper and Train-the-Trainer Training will be offered at
additional locations when additional dates for Foundation
Member-Partner Meetings are announced for 2019.

QPR stands for Question, Persuade and Refer and is a research-based
intervention that anyone can learn. The Foundation works with the QPR
Institute to customize this successful intervention for cruise lines,
aviation companies, human resources professionals and other workplace
groups. Please contact stephen.young@aviem.com
 at the Foundation if
you would like to know more about how you can learn to be a QPR
Gatekeeper in your organization. You can also learn how you can become
a certified trainer of the QPR Gatekeeper model. Contact the Foundation
to discuss your interests.

© 2018 QPR Institute Inc./Family Assistance Education & Research Foundation 
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