The Combined Experience of McCarthy O’Connor

The Directors of the company are Seán McCarthy and Denis O’Connor.  Both have extensive experience in the field of mental health and suicide prevention as well as the development and delivery of training programmes and consultancy in this area. We are members of the Faculty of the QPR Institute in Spokane Washington hold Master Trainer designate status along with being registered QPR trainers. We have an agreed Memorandum of  Understanding with the Institute and have established a branch of the Institute here in Ireland which is known as QPR Ireland. This is in line with similar arrangements that the Institute have developed in Australia. We are now offering a suite of on-line courses that have been developed by the Institute along with our own bespoke training courses which are available face to face in a class room type setting. For more information on all of our training courses visit our suicide prevention training and other courses section of the website.

Meet the Team

Denis O Connor

 Denis has been involved in the area of psychotherapy, supervision and training for the past 20 years. He holds an MA. Supervisory Practice from Dublin City University, BSc.(Hons)  Counselling & Psychotherapy from Middlesex University as well as qualifications in Sports Mind Coaching and in Clinical & Theraputic Hypnotherapy.Denis is a registered trainer with the QPR Institute Spokane, Washington, USA is a Master Trainer Designate and a menber of the Faculty. He is a member of the Irish Association Of Suicidology, the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and the Supervisors Association of Ireland.

Sean McCarthy

In July 2017 Seán was the recipient of the Norman Farber Award.  Presented by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) during their Biannual congress in Malaysia, ”  He is the first Irish recipient of an Award from IASP.  The award was in “recognition of outstanding contributions in the field of bereavement and survivors of suicide loss” locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Seán has extensive experience of working in the field of mental health for over 38 years.  Initially working in the psychiatric services as a psychiatric nurse and laterally as a Regional Suicide Resource Officer within the Health Service Executive.  He holds BSc (Nurs) (Hons) from Waterford Institute of Technology and a Diploma in Health and Social Welfare from the Open University.  He is a registered trainer with the QPR Institute Spokane, Washington and a Master Trainer Designate along with being a member of the Faculty of the Institute. Seán is a member of the International Association of Suicide Prevention (IASP) and was Co-Chair of the Association’s Special Interest Group on Bereavement and Loss from 2007 to 2017.  Recently he has contributed a chapter to the publication Postvention in Action: International Handbook on Suicide Bereavement Support along with Professor Ella Arensman.

The QPR Mission…

To save lives and reduce suicidal behaviors

By providing innovative, practical and proven suicide prevention training, we believe that quality education empowers all people, regardless of their background, to make a positive difference in the life of someone they know.

What does QPR mean?

QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer — the 3 simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide.

Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. Each year thousands of Americans, like you, are saying “Yes” to saving the life of a friend, colleague, sibling, or neighbor.

QPR can be learned in our Gatekeeper course in as little as one hour.

What is a Gatekeeper?

According to the Surgeon General’s National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (2001), a gatekeeper is someone in a position to recognize a crisis and the warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide.

Gatekeepers can be anyone, but include parents, friends, neighbors, teachers, ministers, doctors, nurses, office supervisors, squad leaders, foremen, police officers, advisors, caseworkers, firefighters, and many others who are strategically positioned to recognize and refer someone at risk of suicide.

How is QPR like CPR?

Both are interventions

Much of the world is familiar with CPR — short for cardiopulmonary resuscitation — an emergency medical intervention created in 1957 by Peter Safar. The process is designed to stabilize people who aren’t breathing or breathing intermittently and who may be in cardiac arrest until the person can reach a hospital or other care.

Similarly, QPR is an an emergency mental health intervention for suicidal persons created in 1995 by Paul Quinnett. An abbreviation for Question, Persuade and Refer, the intent is also to identify and interrupt the crisis and direct that person to the proper care.

Both are part of a “Chain of Survival”

Both CPR and QPR are part of systems designed to increase the chance of survival in the event of a crisis.

Early Recognition

We cannot overemphasize the need for early recognition of suicide warning signs.

A well-executed, strong and positive response to the early warning signs of a pending suicide event may render subsequent links in the Chain of Survival unnecessary. Most people thinking about suicide are suffering from an undiagnosed and/or untreated mental illness or substance abuse disorder for which excellent treatments exist.

The prompt recognition of the scream of a smoke detector can eliminate the need to suppress a raging fire. In just that way, by recognizing early the warning signs of suicide, opening a supporting dialogue with a suicidal person and securing consultation a professional may prevent the need for an emergency room visit or psychiatric hospitalization.

Different Crises, Different Warning Signs

In CPR the general public is educated about the classic signs of a heart attack: pressure, fullness, squeezing and pain in the center of the chest, sweating, and other symptoms, and then taught how to respond.

In QPR the general public is educated about the known warning signs of a suicide crisis: expressions of hopelessness, depression, giving away prized possessions, talking of suicide, securing lethal means, and then taught how to respond.

Who needs Training?

The city of Seattle, Washington and surrounding King County has trained more citizens in CPR per capita than any other region in the country. As result, CPR-trained citizens are more likely to resond to perceived medical emergencies in Seattle than in any other city in the United States, which leads to more favorable survival rates.

According to Sanddal and his colleagues (Sanddal, 2003), “In the Seattle cardiac care system it is estimated that one in four persons has been exposed to CPR training. One can conjecture that the recognition of, and survival from, an acute suicide event would be more likely if one in four persons were trained as a suicide lay gatekeeper.”

At the end of 2009, an estimated one million American citizens have been trained in QPR by Certified QPR Instructors. Because of the nature of suicidal warning signs, and who is most likely to recognize and respond to them, we at the QPR Institute strongly concur with the goal of one in four persons trained a basic gatekeeper role for suicide prevention in the United States and in other countries. Because suicides happen in families – where emergency interventions are more likely to take place — we believe that at least one person per family unit should be trained in QPR.

How did QPR Institute begin?

Following a productive, three-year joint effort between Spokane Mental Health and the founder to launch a national suicide prevention training program, the Institute became an independent organization in July of 1999. In the early and developmental years, the QPR concept and associated training program that eventually lead to the founding of the Institute enjoyed considerable support and input from a wide variety of organizations and professional colleagues.

For moral support in the early going, we especially wish to honor, thank and recognize two groups of very special people who share our vision and mission. Both grassroots survivor of suicide organizations, Suicide AwarenessVoices of Education (SAVE) and the Suicide Prevention Advocacy Network (SPAN USA) provided that all essential spark of encouragement that keeps hope alive and all of us working even harder to bring about the reality of preventing suicide.

We also wish to thank members of the American Association of Suicidology for their contributions to the ideas, research and development of our suicide risk reduction tools and protocols.