Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training

Why ASIST?

  • Seven Australians today will take their own lives. Half of those will probably be middle-aged, and the rest are in their teens to 30’s.
  • Around 2,500 Australians die by suicide every year, this is double the number of people killed in road accidents.
  • It’s estimated that around 200 other people will attempt suicide today and another 250 will make a plan to do it.
  • 5% of our population or 1,117,000 people will have thoughts of suicide at any given time.
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death in Australians for ages between 15 and 44.

 

Why Livingworks ASIST?

Livingworks are the world leader in suicide intervention training!

Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) is a two-day workshop that teaches participants to carry out life-saving interventions for people at risk of suicide.

It helps caregivers recognise when someone may be at risk of suicide. It then explores how to connect with them in ways that understand and clarify that risk, increase their immediate safety and link them with further help. Over 80,000 people in Australia have attended ASIST which is available in all states and territories.

Virtually anyone age 16 or older, regardless of prior experience or training, can become an ASIST-trained caregiver. Developed in 1983 and regularly updated to reflect improvements in knowledge and practice, ASIST is the world’s leading suicide intervention workshop. During the two-day interactive session, participants learn to intervene and help prevent the immediate risk of suicide. Over 1,000,000 people have taken the workshop, and studies have proven that the ASIST method helps reduce suicidal feelings for those at risk. 

Workshop features:

  • Presentations and guidance from two LivingWorks registered trainers
  • A scientifically proven intervention model
  • Powerful audiovisual learning aids
  • Group discussions
  • Skills practice and development
  • A balance of challenge and safety

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the workshop, participants will be better able to:

  • Identify people who have thoughts of suicide.
  • Understand how beliefs and attitudes can affect suicide interventions.
  • Understand a person at risk’s story about suicide as well as recognise turning points that connect the person to life
  • Conduct a safety assessment and develop a plan that will keep the person at risk safe-for-now, unit other services can be engaged
  • Confirm the person at risks confidence in the safe-plan and their intent to follow it through

Who should attend an ASIST workshop?

We mean it when we say that ASIST is for everyone. Virtually anyone aged 16 and older can learn the skills to intervene and save a life from suicide. Professionals as well as members of the community at large have all found great value in ASIST over the years. 

Many professionals attend ASIST because suicide intervention skills are essential for their work. In many organizations, ASIST is a mandatory component of training. Nurses, physicians, mental health professionals, pharmacists, teachers, counsellors, youth workers, police, first responders, correctional staff, school support staff, clergy, and volunteers have all found that ASIST complements their existing training and knowledge. 

Other people attend simply because they want to be able to help someone in need, in much the same way they might learn CPR. Because the training is comprehensive and doesn’t rely on prior qualifications, they can have the same meaningful experience as a professional caregiver.

Ultimately, ASIST is founded on the principle that everyone can make a difference in preventing suicide. The more people in the community who have suicide intervention training, the more likely it is they will be able to identify someone at risk and intervene to keep them safe.

Who provides ASIST training?

ASIST workshops are presented by two registered Livingworks trainers who have completed an intensive Training for Trainers course, who present workshops on a regular basis and submit continuous quality assurance reports.

Our team of ASIST trainers at SUICIDE PROGRAMS have extensive background experience as crisis line call operators, supervisors, counsellors and mental health workers.

What are the core features of an ASIST workshop?

Each ASIST workshop shares many core features that make up the LivingWorks international standard. Here is what you can expect at your ASIST training:

  • ASIST is held over two consecutive days for a total of 15 hours.
  • ASIST is based on principles of adult learning. It values participants’ experiences and contributions and encourages them to share actively in the learning process.
  • ASIST workshops always have a minimum of two active ASIST trainers present for the entire two days. If there are more than 30 participants, there will be at least three trainers. Workshops over 45 participants are not recommended and should be split into two separate sessions instead.
  • Trainers show two award-winning videos in the course of the workshop. Cause of Death? (Italics) provides a common starting point for the discussion of attitudes about suicide, while two versions of It Begins with You illustrate the process of a suicide intervention.
  • Some parts of ASIST take place with all participants together, and others take place in a smaller work group. This helps create a balance between safety and challenge. Participants need not disclose personal experiences to the whole group.
  • Local resources are provided and their availability in the community is discussed.
  • Participant materials include a 20-page workbook, wallet card, and stickers. Participants also receive a certificate upon completing the workshop.

What is the structure of an ASIST workshop?

The ASIST workshop is divided into five sections that follow in a logical progression to gradually build comfort and understanding around suicide and suicide intervention. 

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 that attitudes can have on the intervention process.

Understanding: Overviews the intervention needs of a person at risk. It focuses on providing participants with the knowledge and skills to recognize risk and develop safe-plans 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.

Does ASIST provide CPD credit?

Although professional development standards vary from one organization to another, many agencies and licensure boards will grant credits for attending an ASIST workshop. 

ASIST 11, the latest version.

The new edition, ASIST 11, builds on the legacy of previous editions while offering advances that help meet current challenges and provide new opportunities in creating suicide-safer communities.

While ASIST interventions should remain fundamentally the same, ASIST 11 is also significantly better than previous versions of ASIST.

ASIST 11 uses a three-phase model with six tasks, and has a similar appearance to the Suicide Intervention Model. However, ASIST 11’s model is so different that it has a new name, Pathways for Assisting Life (or PAL for short). Helpers using PAL will seem to have an ease with letting a person at risk talk about suicide, a knack for helping a person at risk discover life connections and a talent for turning those connections into reasons for working on safety-for-now. You might be surprised at how easily they seem to do these things.

PAL uses a Safety Framework that integrates the literature on risk with the emerging literature on safety. You will see some similarities in the things being considered but some differences. Most of all, you will see a positive, transparent focus upon creating safety for now along with both more clarity and more flexibility in how to achieve it. You may discover them extolling the virtues of a safety perspective much like you might talk about the value of the invitations perspective—which, by the way, remains very much a part of ASIST 11.



Two of the new helping tools featured in ASIST 11 are related to helper guidance and helper roles. Expect ASIST 11 helpers to typically have a good understanding of the value of flexible guidance as well as a good understanding of the implications of the relationship they have with the person at risk. You might expect them to say things that cause you to think about your understanding of guidance and role.



Improvements and transition

These improvements might cause confusion in organizations that use protocols based upon older versions of ASIST. The best solution to these potential problems is to train participants of these older versions in ASIST 11. Protocols may need to be amended to reduce confusion during the interim period.

Despite the potential for some confusion in working with ASIST 11 helpers, they remain, like all ASIST helpers, good people trying to do the best they know how. Expect ASIST 11 helpers to try to help you learn what they know—although they will often forget or not even recognize what it took to learn it. On the other hand, expect them to offer you all their support in finding opportunities to take ASIST 11. The ASIST learning experience remains pretty much as you remember it—only more so with ASIST 11. Small group support, time for sharing real experiences and feelings about suicide, and many opportunities to practice and watch others practice. That is what it takes to learn something this decidedly human—and it still does.

Read recent reviews from 2018 workshop attendees

“Both trainers were excellent, funny, communicative between themselves, this flowed over to the group which I feel made our learning the ASIST training a lot more easier and enjoying”

“I found both Paul and Sandra easy to listen to and understand during the training. I also had no concern when asking for help or advice during the program to gain a better and clearer understanding”

“Sandra and Paul were excellent presenter and trainers, I thoroughly enjoyed their teaching styles and interactive learning approach”

“The trainers made your feel comfortable at all times, I highly recommend Paul & Sandra to deliver all ASIST training back in St George”

“Extremely helpful workshop with two excellent passionate trainers. I learnt more about preventing suicide in these two days than I did in four years of tertiary study”

“Mel and Sandi were great, they made me feel comfortable discussing things and asking questions. They explained the model very clearly and how it may work in reality. I definitely feel better equipped to help someone now”

“Mel and Sandi were engaging and passionate. I felt they were experienced in the field and supportive trainers. I really like the inclusion of self care in the training – this was very important”

“I found this training to be highly beneficial to me. It was intensive, straight to the point and valid. Both the trainers, Sandi & Mel have extensive knowledge and were extremely valuable to me. Highly recommend this course and will be to others”

“Trainers were attentive and relate-able. Taught in a ‘real-world’ way which was fantastic”

This 2 day workshop can be held for your staff at your workplace, or you can send staff to a scheduled workshop by clicking the ‘Attend a training’ button below. All enquiries or expression of interest can be directed to our senior trainer, Sandra Willie by email or telephone: (07)3117 2455 or email: sandra@suicideprograms.org.au