Suicide intervention training offered

ELLSWORTH — An Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) will be hosted by Healthy Acadia in partnership with Access Health in the community room of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 130 Beechland Road, on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 9 and 10, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The two-day training uses an evidence-based curriculum from Living Works Education, which focuses on how to help people who are having suicidal thoughts to find safety so that they can access community-based resources and supports. Participants also will learn how to use language that does not perpetuate stigma associated with feeling suicidal, to understand the prevalence of suicidal thoughts and actions in our community and to connect with community resources. Participants will learn to identify the warning signs of suicide and employ communication methods to help those at risk feel less overwhelmed, less depressed and more hopeful.

“To date, over a million people have been trained in ASIST,” said Tara Young, Community Health Program coordinator with Healthy Acadia and certified ASIST trainer. “Many more are needed to help ensure our communities are doing everything we can to intervene and provide help for people who are having thoughts of suicide.

“The training takes away the taboo so that participants are able to have discussions about suicide and learn intervention techniques that research has shown to be effective. Over the two days of the course, we talk about how to provide information to promote life. This is what we really want to focus on. When nobody knows how to help someone with suicidal thoughts, those thoughts can turn into suicidal behaviors.”

The ASIST training treats suicide as the public health issue that it is. ASIST training is comparable to CPR training – anyone in the community may be in a position to provide CPR and may have no other medical training, or they may be a doctor or a nurse. ASIST is similarly versatile. People 16 years of age and older, teachers, doctors, mental health counselors, parents or anyone interested in helping others can become ASIST-trained.

“I’ve presented this training for over six years,” Young said. “Every time I hold a training, I have someone come back to me within a month and say that they engaged in the ASIST process with a friend, coworker, client or loved one, and that person told them that the intervention saved their life.”

The training costs $50 per participant, which includes books, CEUs, lunch and snacks. Full and partial scholarships are available. Preregistration is required. Contact Tara Young at 667-7171 or email [email protected].

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