First Responders

First Responders

As a first responder, you are in a position to be first on the scene of a death by suicide. How you handle this type of situation can make a big difference for the survivors-the friends and family members who have lost a loved one. AdditionalIy, those who have a lost a loved one to suicide are at greater risk for suicide themselves, so it is important that first responders are aware of the warning signs so that they can help to identify those at risk and get them connected to appropriate help.

First responders have a high degree of exposure to suicidal behaviors through their work, both when suicidal persons are exhibiting warning signs, as well as after a suicide attempt or death. Given this high stress line of work, first responders may be at higher risk themselves for experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Self-care activities and being able to identify and assist a colleague in distress are important to maintaining emotional health for first responders.

The Role of First Responders in Preventing Suicide
An overview and guide for first responders for helping those who have attempted suicide, responding to suicide survivors, and helping yourself and your fellow first responders, with references and resources. From Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)

The Role of Law Enforcement Personnel in Preventing Suicide
This brief provides information for law enforcement personnel on recognizing and responding to warning signs, and resource materials about suicide prevention and the role of law enforcement personnel in preventing suicides. From Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)

The QPR Institute has developed a number of training programs designed specifically for First Responders and Law Enforcement Personnel. QPR for EMS/Firefighters and QPR for Law Enforcement are available online or there are QPR trainers in South Dakota that may be able to provide this training for your group. For some learners, a shorter online or in person training (approximately two hours) may be what is needed. The  certificate earned in this shorter version of the course is the QPR Gatekeeper for Suicide Prevention Certificate. To earn the QPR for EMS/Firefighter Certificate in Suicide Prevention, more work is required. The learner must complete 6-8 hours of online training in this same course. Completing and passing the quizzes in these additional modules qualify the learner to print the QPR for EMS/Firefighter in Suicide Prevention Certificate. This 6-8 hour training is similar to QPR Triage, which can be provided on site through suicide prevention trainers  in South Dakota.

Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) is a training program designed to assist police officers in responding more safely and compassionately in their interactions with people with mental illness. CIT is most effective when law enforcement, the mental health system and consumer and family advocates all work together to assist in getting appropriate treatment for the person in need. Both Rapid City and Sioux Falls have CIT-trained police officers who specialize in providing de-escalation for crises related to mental health and provide linkages to Mobile Crisis Team (Sioux Falls) or Crisis Care Center (Rapid City).

Psychological First Aid for First Responders gives tips to emergency response workers and disaster response workers to help disaster survivors cope with the psychological aspects of a traumatic event. Offers strategies for managing intense emotions and promoting a safe, calm environment. Order for free here.

Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety is an eight-hour course specially designed for police officers, first responders, corrections officers and other public safety professionals, helping them better understand mental illnesses and addictions and providing them with effective response options to deescalate incidents without compromising safety. Approximately 10,000 public safety professionals have taken the original Mental Health First Aid course.