ASIST training was brought into Cornwall and Isles of Scilly in 2009 as part of a wider strategy to prevent suicides, and in response to requests for training in how to assess risk and how to talk about suicide.
Despite some improvement in recent years there remains a stigma around mental illness and suicide, and this can hold people back from talking about their feelings and seeking help. It can also hold potential helpers back from asking about suicide and offering support. ASIST participants are trained to recognise the signs of suicide risk and to encourage people to talk openly about feelings of distress and thoughts of suicide, before agreeing to a plan to keep them safe.
The suicide prevention strategy for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly aims to promote mental wellbeing across the whole population, support people who are mentally unwell or distressed and keep the most vulnerable safe from harm. ASIST 'caregivers' have an important role to play, saving lives through practising suicide first aid, and promoting the honest and open discussions that will bring about a culture of mental and physical health issues being considered on equal terms.
We have a vision of an ever-expanding safety net of ASIST-trained care-givers across the communities of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly. That safety net now consists of around 2100 people and it continues to grow, with the participation of trainers and attendees from a range of backgrounds, making this a truly multidisciplinary and inter-agency programme.
Aim: To help reduce the number of deaths by suicide in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly by providing Suicide First Aid skills to anyone who may come into contact with a person at risk. ASIST gives an introduction to the most widely used Suicide Intervention Model in the world, a model which is applicable in all situations requiring help.
To equip you – the caregiver- with the skills necessary to help a person at risk of suicide stay safe and seek further help.
By the end of the 2 day course you will be able to:
- Recognise that caregivers/healthcare workers and persons at risk are affected by personal and societal attitudes about suicide
- Discuss suicide with a person at risk in a direct manner
- Identify risk alerts and develop a safe plan related to them
- Demonstrate the skills required to intervene with a 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
- Recognise that suicide prevention is broader than suicide first aid and includes life promotion and self-care for caregivers/healthcare workers.
- Natural helpers and advisers
- Emergency service staff
- Counsellors, teachers and ministers
- Mental health practitioners
- Workers in health, welfare or justice
- Community volunteers
- People concerned about family, friends