September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and, in recognition of that, the local nonprofit Mental Health Greensboro is offering free sessions of suicide prevention training.

Mental Health Greensboro will be teaching the internationally recognized prevention training program called “QPR,” which stands for “Question, Persuade, Refer.”

In the classes, participants will learn to recognize the warning signs of suicide and learn the accepted and effective methods for helping those who are considering ending their lives.

Three sessions are scheduled in September for the two-hour certification training course and all of those classes are open to the public. The training sessions will be held at Mental Health Greensboro at 700 Walter Reed Dr. in Greensboro.

Anyone who wants to go through the training can register online at

In the classes, participants will learn how to offer hope to those considering suicide and how to encourage them to seek professional help.

Donna Shelton, the executive director of Mental Health Greensboro, said this week that the training “equips people to have honest conversations about suicide and how to get help.”

She added, “Open communication is a critical first step to recognizing another’s pain and offering hopeful alternatives.”

According to the most recent figures from the US Center for Disease Control, suicide rates in this country increased by more than 30 percent between 1999 and 2016.

In North Carolina, suicide is the third leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 34.

The dates and times for the classes are:

  • Thursday, Sept. 19, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 24, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sept. 28, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Mental Health Greensboro has been around for about 70 years. The organization provides a number of services that promote mental health and recovery from mental illnesses. The group helps people learn about their diagnoses and helps them take an active role in implementing the best strategies for managing their symptoms.