Within my circle of influence, I can help to train caregivers so they can feel more confident and capable of intervening when someone might be at risk of suicide.This workshop has been a true learning and growing experience for me and, through it, opportunities to talk to many others about their experiences. I am grateful for that.
One of the stats that continues to cause me great concern is the high rate of suicide by our aboriginal population. First Nations has a rate of five times higher than the national average and the Inuit people have a rate of deaths by suicide eleven times higher then the national average. There is no rate for the Metis as research has not yet been clear about the numbers but I believe it is high as well.
I know more work has to be done in this area but I'm not sure what. I am hoping that the River of Life Workshop is one of those steps but we'll see.
In Alberta, the Centre for Suicide Prevention has the ability to send out trainers to the communities to deliver the ASIST. I am pleased to be a part of their organization, I also know that the work needs to continue to grow and change over time. www.suicideinfo.ca
In other parts of Canada and the world, Livingworks Inc, has the ability to train trainers and help with workshops in any area. www.livingworks.net
Here's a quick summary of the workshop, if you haven't taken it before and you want to learn new skills, this would be a great start for you. If you need to be re-certified. This workshop is available for you.
ASIST was developed by Living Works Education and is the most widely used suicide intervention workshop in the world. Just as “CPR“ skills make physical first aid possible, training in suicide intervention develops the skills used in suicide first aid. ASIST is a 2 day interactive course that meets professional training requirements by helping participants recognize risk and learn how to intervene to prevent the immediate risk of suicide. An average of 3756 Canadians kill themselves each year. These suicides can be prevented and you can help!
Emphasizing structured small-group discussions and practice, the course uses a 20-page workbook and two award-winning audiovisuals. Participants receive a 110-page Suicide Intervention Handbook and a full color, laminated pocket card featuring intervention, risk review and safeplan development principles.
ASIST has five learning sections:
- Preparing - sets the tone, norms, and expectations of the learning experience.
- Connecting - sensitizes participants to their own attitudes towards suicide. Creates an understanding of the impact which attitudes have on the intervention process.
- Understanding - Identifies the intervention needs of person at risk. It focusses on providing participants with the knowledge and skills to recognize risk and develop safeplans to reduce the risk of suicide.
- Assisting - presents a model for effective suicide intervention. Participants develop their skills through observation and supervised simulation experiences in large and small groups.
- Networking - generates information about resources in the local community. Promotes a commitment by participants to transform local resources into helping networks.
- Recognize that caregivers and persons at risk are affected by personal and societal attitudes about suicide;
- Discuss suicide with the person at risk in a direct manner;
- Identify risk alerts and develop safeplans related to them;
- Demonstrate the skills required to intervene with person at risk of suicide;
- List the types of resources available to a person at risk of suicide, including themselves;
- Make a commitment to improving community resources; and
- Recognize that suicide prevention is broader than suicide first aid and includes life promotion and self care for caregivers.
The workshop is for all caregivers (any person in a position of trust). This includes professionals, paraprofessionals and lay people. It is suitable for mental health professionals, nurses, physicians, teachers, counselors, youth workers, police and correctional staff, school support staff, clergy, and community volunteers.
Accreditation and Professional Development Credit Information
This workshop meets the Canadian Accreditation Council of Human Services (CACOHS) accreditation standards.
ASIST is eligible for Category A Professional Development Credits at a Beginning or Intermediate Level from the Alberta College of Social Workers. Please note, participants must attend fourteen (14) hours on instruction to receive participation certificate and to be eligible to Category A credits.
If you have any further questions, concerns or comments about this course, please contact the Centre for Suicide Prevention: firstname.lastname@example.org