Meeting the mental health challenge

Sometimes referred to as “CPR for emotional wellbeing,” QPR suicide-prevention training is a way to deliver lifesaving assistance to individuals facing mental health emergencies. At free training sessions hosted by HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals’ 3D Community Health, individuals are taught to address those who are at risk of self-harm by:

  • Questioning the person
  • Persuading him or her to find hope
  • Referring the person to resources that can offer help

“I attended training at an elementary school in Chippewa Falls, and we discussed how many critical situations are faced by young adults,” says Cherity Germain, Business and Customer Relations Coordinator at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin. “We learned how to read the body language of at-risk young people, approach them, and encourage them to find help before situations escalated beyond repair. It was a very valuable experience.”

To learn more about QPR training, visit


In Chippewa County, the three most prevalent issues identified by the survey were mental health, alcohol misuse, and substance abuse. In Eau Claire, they were mental health, alcohol misuse, and obesity.

In March of 2015, community members in both counties discussed the results of the assessment for the purpose of identifying contributing factors to these issues. Since then, the hospitals have hosted several events to educate people about mental health and suicide prevention. (To learn more, see
“Meeting the Mental Health Challenge.”) As it addresses issues identified in the 2015 CHNA, the committee is also working to gather data for a 2017–2018
assessment, and preparing a formal plan to improve long-term health in the community, which it will submit to the Internal Revenue Service in the coming year.

“The collaboration worked so well the first time, we wanted to do it again,” Brown says. “When we are all moving toward a common goal, we are better equipped to meet the needs of our community.” If you tell people you have cancer, they rally around you. But if you mention mental health challenges, people tend to shy away. We are trying to change that.

We hope people will be able to talk about mental health like they do physical health.” — Rhonda Brown, Division Director of 3D Community Health:
Body.Mind.Spirit, a program of HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals

If you would like to assist with educational events associated with 3D Community Health: Body.Mind.Spirit, email Laura Baalrud at



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