PRODUCE giant Kerry Foods has joined forces with Gorey ‘s Talk To Tom in order to train 75-staff members in the life saving ‘QPR Gatekeeper’ suicide prevention programme by the end of 2018.
To date 20-workers in the company's Shillelagh facility have undergone the revolutionary course with the volunteer run organisation - which teaches ordinary members of the public how to spot the warning signs of suicide.
The multi-billion euro firm has said it plans to have as many people coached in the programme - which also teachers ‘Gatekeepers’ how to interact with a person who may be suicidal and how to refer them to help - as they have trained in traditional CPR.
H.R Business Partner with Kerry Foods, Fiona O’Carroll said the they and Talk To Tom had recently forged strong bonds - following their first instalment of QPR Training in July which was introduced to Ireland by the charity.
“We recently held QPR training here in Kerry Foods Shillelagh which was facilitated by the Talk To Tom organisation,” said Ms O’Carroll.
“The course was attended by employees from across the career level spectrum at Kerry Foods - from management to production staff.
“The training was absolutely amazing for everyone involved - because regardless of your role in an organisation whether it be a manager, group leader, team leader or production operative - we are all affected the same way when it comes to our mental health,” she added.
“The feedback from our employees was absolutely amazing and highly unexpected. They were all privileged to be in the room and everyone who attended was delighted to see colleagues from all different levels represented there.
“It has created such a buzz around the place in terms of engagement and there is now a massive desire from everyone to get involved with this incredible charity,” added Ms O’Carroll.
“Speaking as a manager in an organisation like Kerry Foods - where our employees and their mental health and well-being is so important to us - to review the feedback that we did following the QPR training was incredible.
“To receive personal emails praising the initiative was pretty significant and really lets us know we are doing the right thing.”
“Over 20-people have taken part in QPR training at Kerry Foods Shillelagh to date - which means we now have 20-people within the company who can recognise when someone may be at risk or in a situation where they are think about taking their own life .
“Thanks to this course we now have the tools to bring them to a very safe place.”
QPR which stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer — is a suicide intervention technique which was grandfathered into Ireland by Talk To Tom’s Ray Cullen.
The three simple steps which the course outlines can teach anyone to help save a life from suicide.
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.
To date the volunteer run organisation has delivered the training to over 4,000 people in Ireland and the UK.
Kerry Foods Shillelagh Production Manager Terry Byrne also lauded the programme as a success.
“We recently completed our first session of QPR training at Kerry Foods and it was phenomenally successful,” he said.
“The feedback from the staff and all the attendees was brilliant. People who have been with the company for 20 or 30-years have said it was the best training course they have ever done - that it had given them an entirely different perspective.
“For me personally - it made me question what I was doing in my role as a manager on site - and think about if any of my actions were adversely affecting the mental well-being of others and what I could proactively do to help people with their mental health.
“We have a plan to roll out the training to 75-staff members between now and Christmas with our goal to have as many people trained in QPR as we do in CPR,” he added.
“The feedback has been amazing. I received a number of emails following the training from colleagues praising the programme and how it has helped them and given them a fantastic life skill.”
The sites General Manager Sarah Murphy added: “I got the opportunity to take part in QPR training with Ray about a month ago - and it was on the best training programmes I have ever undertaken.
“It was so different than any other type of course I’ve ever done and the engagement and interaction in the room was just superb.
“It sets you up with a life skill. Prior to it I wouldn't have known how to deal with situations like that but it just equips you with the tools to make someone safe
“We are committed to it here now and I would just like to thank Talk To Tom for letting us be apart of it.”
Kerry Foods Shilelagh General Manager - Sarah Murphy