QQQ3 February 7, 2018: A Crew Member’s Death by Suicide

QPR Quick Quotes: A Crew Member’s Death by Suicide
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Quick Quote:

Suicide prevention training is like trying to sell somebody
something nobody wants until it's too late.

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

A Crew Member's Death by Suicide
                                                                                                          -Carolyn V. Coarsey, Ph.D.
While working as a crew member on a cruise ship, Patti met her true love,
Sam. Sam also worked on ships. Patti and Sam worked different shifts in
their different roles on board, so Patti typically slept in Sam’s room so they
could have more time together. All of the crew members knew that Patti
was deeply in love with Sam, as she talked about him to everyone and
described him as the ideal partner for her.

They had been dating for several months when Sam told Patti that he was
going to take a couple of weeks off for a trip home to be with his family.
Patti expressed her desire to go with him on his time off, but Sam would
not agree to her going with him. Despite her insistence, Sam would not
agree. He told her that when he returned to the ship, they would be
together again.

Patti was visibly upset by Sam’s decision to take time off that did not
include her. She spoke openly about how she felt and told others that she
believed that Sam was seeing someone else which was the true reason he
was going off the ship—to be with his other love interest. Her Facebook
postings changed from happy references to their relationship to
descriptions of her sadness that Sam was not taking her with him on his
time off. She also told her parents that Sam was mistreating her.

As Sam’s time off got closer, Patti was spending more time alone in her
room, drinking alcohol. In addition to isolating from others, she was often
seen crying during her shifts. Patti surprised her friends when she gave
several of them some of her most valuable possessions. To the shock and
devastation of all who knew and loved her, Patti was found dead in her
room. The investigation clearly showed that Patti had taken her own life.
If we can convince enough people that QPR prevents suicide, it will.

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

QPR Gatekeeper Training includes a discussion of warning signs intended
to call attention to a potential suicide crisis. In this case involving Patti’s
death, many signs were there, but those who interacted with her on the
ship, or who read her Facebook posts did not understand what these
signs might mean.

Experienced HR and other leaders on board ships indicate that crew
members most often regard fellow crew members as family, due to the
amount of time they are away from their families at home. Therefore,
any major break up should be regarded as a threat to the emotional
well-being of individuals involved. Crying at work would have been an
indication of how the loss of her ideal relationship was impacting her
emotional stability. Isolating and withdrawing from normal social
interactions with others, coupled with drinking in one’s room would
also be examples of serious warning signs.

Friends and co-workers who know what to notice would also recognize
that Cindy was sending strong signals or warning signs when she began
to make postings on her website about how upset she was about the
rejection she felt from one whom she once saw as her ideal partner.
And finally, when Cindy began giving away prized possessions, a trained
friend, peer, co-worker or supervisor would have known how serious this
warning sign can be—and hopefully intervention would have taken place. 


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 and other workplace groups. Please contact
 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.

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