QUEENS Park Rangers football club have teamed up with an Irish charity to endorse a suicide prevention training programme for the sporting and wider community.
Manager Harry Redknapp and top players Rio Ferdinand and Richard Dunne backed Console's training programme, also called QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer), this week.
The two organisations were brought together by Leslie Haylock Speed, sister of former soccer star Gary Speed, who took his own life in 2011. Console have supported the Speed family since Gary’s death.
“Console's QPR training highlights three simple steps that anyone can quickly learn to help save a life from suicide,” said Redknapp, at the team's pre-season training base at Carton House in Kildare.
“It is fantastic that sporting organisations in Ireland have adopted this training and linked up with suicide prevention and bereavement charity Console,” he added.
Console founder and CEO Paul Kelly has revealed that the charity is aiming to roll out the three-hour programme to sporting clubs across Ireland and Britain.
“This year Console is working with GAA and soccer clubs and the Irish Rugby Union Players Association (IRUPA) providing QPR training to players and coaching staff in each province,” he explained.
“Just as people trained in CPR help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognise the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade and refer someone to help,” he added.
Mr Kelly went on to stress the importance and availability of QPR training to people involved in group activity in any profession.
“People considering suicide often feel very isolated and alone. They may feel that nobody can help them or understand their pain,” he said.
“When unable to see any other way of dealing with pain, suicide may seem to be a way out.
“But people trained in QPR learn how to recognise a crisis and the warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide. They know how to offer hope and then how to offer help and save a life.”
Console offers counselling services and 24-hour helpline support to people in crisis and those bereaved by suicide.
The charity operates full-time counselling centres in Limerick Cork, Dublin, Wexford, Galway, Kerry and Mayo. It also offers services in Kildare and Athlone and a more recently opened service in London.
Its counselling services are available for any individual, couples, families or children who have been affected by suicide.
Console can be reached at any time on freephone 1800 247 247.
For further information visit www.console.ie.