ASIST is a two-day interactive workshop in suicide first-aid. ASIST teaches participants to recognize when someone may be at risk of suicide and work with them to create a plan that will support their immediate safety. Although ASIST is widely used by healthcare providers, participants don’t need any formal training to attend the workshop—ASIST can be learned and used by anyone.
Statistics outline an alarming need to increase our skills in suicide intervention:
• Each year there are more than 550 Oregonians who die by suicide and more than 1800 hospitalizations due to suicide attempts.
• Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Oregonians ages 15-34, and the 9th leading cause of death among all ages in Oregon (http://public.health.oregon.gov/DiseasesConditions/InjuryFatalityData/Pages/nvdrs.aspx).
• On average, 75 youth aged 10 to 24 have killed themselves in this state every year during the past decade (Oregon Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry).
• Up to 40% of college students report experiencing depression during an academic year. Parents and students, college staff and friends need to be able to distinguish the normal temporary college blues from depression and be able to identify a person at risk for suicide (Oregon Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry).
In the course of the two-day workshop, ASIST participants learn to:
• Understand the ways personal and societal attitudes affect views on suicide and interventions
• Provide guidance and suicide first-aid to a person at risk in ways that meet their individual safety needs
• Identify the key elements of an effective suicide safety plan and the actions required to implement it
• Appreciate the value of improving and integrating suicide prevention resources in the community at large
• Recognize other important aspects of suicide prevention including life-promotion and self-care
Here is what some participants have had to say about their participation in ASIST:
• “This training will prove very valuable for our frequent encounters with suicidal subjects. The suicide intervention model presented will serve as a great framework for interventions, and a guide for better encounters.” Portland Police Bureau Officer
• “I really appreciated the model’s flexibility, the emphasis on the person’s human dignity and language to empower and support another human.” Peer Coordinator, Empowerment Initiatives
• “Positive experience all the way around. I am grateful this training was not just for crisis workers as many people can utilize this tool to greater advantage.” Clackamas County, Crisis Line Manager
ASIST is an internationally recognized suicide prevention training program and is in the Best Practice Registry for suicide prevention.