Nearly 6000 people take their own lives across the UK each year. safeTALK is a half-day course that offers you practical steps to help someone with thoughts of suicide and helps you both to connect with more specialised support.
The safeTALK course was developed by LivingWorks in Canada and is delivered worldwide. It complements our more comprehensive 2 day ASIST course by widening the net of suicide alert helpers to ensure that thoughts of suicide aren’t missed, dismissed or avoided. Through attending the safeTALK course, you will know what to do if someone’s suicidal through following the easy to remember TALK steps – Tell, Ask, Listen and Keep-safe.
These practical steps offer immediate help to someone having thoughts of suicide and helps you both move forward to connect with more specialised support. The safeTALK course is based on the principles of maximum dissemination and minimum cost.
The Course is aimed at: Paid or unpaid staff providing a range of services who may have contact with individuals at risk of suicide including but not exclusive to:
- Mental health workers
- Other health and social care workers
- Police & prison service staff
- Drug and alcohol workers
- Counselors and therapists
- Student support services
- Faith groups
Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) trains frontline staff in early intervention. The 15-hour workshop held over two days teaches participants to connect, understand and assist people who may be at risk of suicide.
Saving Lives Through Suicide Prevention Skills – The Two Day ASIST Course is suitable for people from all walks of life. Mental health professionals, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, teachers, counsellors, youth workers, police and prison staff, school support staff, clergy, community volunteers and those training to undertake these roles have all benefited from ASIST.
As an ASIST-trained suicide alert first aid intervention Caregiver, you will be better able to:
Identify people who may have thoughts of suicide. By having this knowledge you will be better placed to provide timely support. Understand how your beliefs and attitudes can affect suicide interventions. Through understanding, you will understand the impact of stigma and the potential blockers to support.Seek and share and understanding of the reasons for thoughts of suicide and the reasons for living. Review current risk and develop a plan. A jointly agreed plan can increase safety from suicidal behaviour for an agreed amount of time. Follow up on all the safety commitments, accessing further help as needed. Through this the person at risk knows they are being well supported.
All 2 Day Courses include:
LivingWorks Accredited Certificates
LivingWorks ASIST Workbooks and other ASIST Materials licensed to this course
Other local resources relevant to the participant geographical areas of operation.
Internationally recognised, highly reputed
The intervention is intended to prevent suicidal thoughts becoming suicidal behaviours. ASIST is underpinned by the idea that many people who are thinking about suicide will find some way to signal their intent. The workshops provide training in suicide intervention. They are designed to help a person become more ready, willing, and able to help someone who is having thoughts of suicide.
ASIST is intensive, interactive and practice dominated. The process helps caregivers — or any people of trust — recognise risk and also learn how to intervene to prevent the immediate risk of suicide.
Above: The Hertforshire delegates trained in ASIST in April 2014 – This group of dedicated professionals from across the County are now developing their own Suicide Prevention Network known as SING.
I found the ASIST training really useful and it has made me for less worried about talking to someone wanting or thinking about ending their life
On-going research continues to best establish which suicide interventions are most effective. To date, we have the evidence to show that ASIST does give care-givers the skills and confidence to put an intervention in place. Recent evidence has also shown that for Crisis Workers on helplines, the ASIST approach is effective in saving lives. But we feel at Forward For Life that there is nothing more convincing than direct narratives from those on the ground who have been trained in ASIST.
So we asked the delegates who had been on our training whether it had been effectively employed in their day to day work – and this is what they said.
“I used the ASIST training (2014) with one of my female offenders. She came for her usual appointment and was stating that she felt the world was coming in on her. She has a diagnosed Personality disorder but the Mental Health teams were not engaged with her. I completed the ASIST approach with her and although she had no plan in place we still looked at reasons to live and reasons to die. I drew a safe plan up with her and agreed with her that she would give me 24 hours.
I referred to Mental Health teams for an assessment gave them all the information as to what i had done thus far for her and insisted that she be given an appointment as early as possible. They assessed and discharged but now have PD team involved and Forensic Mental health team.
Most importantly my client, now feels that she can cope with the interventions I am putting in place with her and has another support network beyond her time with me.”
“I have been supporting a lovely 17 year old student during her restart year after suffering a breakdown in her first year. She was very up and down and felt she was very open with me and we had a good relationship. However a few weeks ago after stockpiling medication took an overdose, telling me later she hardly remembered taking them. She woke feeling dizzy and told her sister who called 999 and thankfully her life was saved. I was very shocked but so relieved when she came to see me, still low but happy to be still here.
My ASIST training (2014) helped me to say the right things, to agree a safe plan to which she agreed and to signpost more help. She came to me as a friend and mentor and I thank god I had the ASIST training to help her. She is now having much more help and bipolar disorder is suspected
“I found the ASIST (2013) training really useful and it has made me for less worried about talking to someone wanting or thinking about ending their life. I have used the training in a telephone call in a previous job with someone who was suicidal and had the means and a plan of how they were going to end their life. Because of the training i didn’t panic but listened to the person for quite some time before identifying some things that he wanted to live for. I talked to them about these and arranged for them to see their GP. I got them to agree to see their GP and ensured that they were seeing a friend that evening, I also arranged to call them the following day to check in and see how they were. When i spoke to them the following day they were so grateful and said that if it hadn’t been for me listening to them and caring about what happened to them, they would have killed themselves the previous day.
I’ve also used the training in my role as a counsellor – I’ve used it on a couple of occasions with clients who had been having suicidal ideation although they weren’t actively planning to kill themselves. On both occasions the clients found it helpful to be able to talk through their feelings with someone who just wanted to listen.”
“I have had to put into practice ASIST on 2 occasions since completing our training in April 2014, and all I can say is that I felt prepared for both situations. Both situations were totally different, as one was for a member of staff and the latest situation was a Yr 11 student on the last week of term.
The member of staff was directed to me for support/off load, and with the guidance from our training I was able to ask the right questions which lead to a safe plan and contacting the member of staff’s partner, and making an appointment at their Dr’s.
With regards to the yr. 11 student, with whom I had worked in the past due to self harming. I could see a difference in attitude than previously, which gave me the push to ask if they were thinking of suicide and what appeared to be relief when I asked the question she told me “yes” and told me how she wanted to end her life. Again I don’t think I would have been so direct with my questioning if I had not attended ASIST. I have now in place, support whilst she is at school completing exams. Parents are on board too, contact numbers have been given to the student and parents and CAMHS aware and updated.
On the day of her telling me that she wished to end her life, we managed from not wanting to tell anyone, to agreeing a safe plan for the next 24hrs until we got everyone on board.”
“If I had not had the ASIST training (2014) with Forward For Life and Common Unity I would not have had the confidence to give support to two people.
As a result of the training I was able to sit for an hour and a half with a man who had tried to commit suicide to work through some of the processes he had undergone. When I arrived he was not able to sit up and was in coherent and in tears. By the end of the meeting he was able to sit up and talk rationally with me about the events leading up to the attempt.
In another case the training gave me the ability to talk with a lady who admitted to me that she had contemplated suicide having been sexually harassed. The training gave me the confidence to support her. I have been able to assist her to see that her feelings of worthlessness and guilt coming out of the harassment were understandable and that what had happened was not her fault and she should not listen to her negative thought about concentrate on the positive ones.”
Company Director (Health and Well Being)
“Representatives from our organisation undertook the ASIST training (2013) for our management and support workers and we have been able to put the training to use straight away and have supported young people.
One Saturday morning after an incident on the previous night, myself and a colleague were able to help this young person in crisis who confirmed to us that they had felt suicidal for a long time but no one had noticed before. Without the training received, suicide would have continued to be a subject that we as a team felt was taboo – but now have the confidence to ask questions and give support.”
“Fortunately, I have not had to use the skills and approaches learnt during the 2 day ASIST course (2013) with Forward For Life . However, attending the ASIST course has benefited me in other ways, such as helping people who are feeling low, going through bereavement, depressed, and generally feeling down.
I highly recommend this both serious, and yet enjoyable course, as it helps in understanding a person’s deep-rooted misery, teaches essential techniques to stop a horrific tragedy, and enables wider awareness to further support, at risk and vulnerable individuals. Delivered in an engaging and interactive way, the ASIST course clearly meets it aims.”
Company Director – Training Consultancy
“I found the ASIST training engaging, the facilitators from Forward For Life were skilled in approaching such an emotive and sensitive subject with essence of humour and reality. I’ve become a supporter of their work and endorse their invaluable training.”
Suicide is a major issue and it’s increasing – In England it is a sad fact that every 2 hours a person dies by their own hand. ASIST suicide prevention training is one way of supporting communities to be suicide safer.
In 2019, over 6,000 suicides were across the UK. Although adults in middle- and late-middle age have the highest suicide rate, suicide occurs in people of all ages, including children and when someone takes their own life, the effect on the family, friends, the local community and the wider community is devastating – An immeasurable impact.
ASIST: suicide first aid
ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) is a two day, skills building workshop that prepares caregivers of all kinds to provide suicide first aid interventions. Professionals, Volunteers and informal helpers all need to know how to help persons with thoughts of suicide in ways that increase their suicide safety.
As an ASIST-trained first aid intervention Caregiver, you will be better able to:
Identify people who have thoughts of suicide
Understand how your beliefs and attitudes can affect suicide interventions
Seek and gain understanding of the reasons for thoughts of suicide and the reasons for living
Review current risk and develop a plan to increase safety from suicidal behaviour for an agreed amount of time
Follow up on all the safety commitments, accessing further help as needed.
At Forward For Life we believe there is one solution we can promote in realising Suicide Safer Communities ….and it’s a very simple one.
Through thee safeTALK course we train up to 25 people in half a day – this training serves as a gatekeeper to individuals who are considering suicide. We believe that through greater engagement in safeTALK at an organisational and community level, people can be directed to the appropriate support with the outcome of saving a life.
The challenge is this – safeTALK trained individuals need to refer people at risk of suicide to ready, willing and able individuals who can implement Suicide First Aid Support (ASIST) through an agreed safety plan – however, organisations who have staff trained in ASIST or have the knowledge and skills to effectively intervene are, although growing in numbers, limited across the region.
Our Combined Approach sees a way through this via brokering agreements with a range of stakeholders to sign up to engaging in safeTALK at a proportional level. This will provide the eyes and ears for every organisation to intervene where suicide ideation is a possible consideration. In addition to this, organisations can engage with ASIST – Forward For Life and Common Unity believe that through proportional representation both within organisations and community groups stakeholders will have both the gatekeeping aspect (safeTALK) and the Suicide First Aid (ASIST) embedded. The Combined Approach is outlined on the following page which demonstrates what is required to be recognised as achieving full recognition as a Suicide Safer Community Organisation.
In Britain each year, over 6000 people kill themselves; that’s 4000 more deaths per year than occur on all our roads – but unlike road safety awareness, suicide prevention is a subject that professionals nor our communities are willing to openly talk about. “It’s time to tackle this problem head on”. It’s time to act. It’s time to Shout Out Suicide.
Suicide is the most common cause of death for men under 35 and each year between 600 and 800 people aged 15-24 take their own lives – That’s the same as the number of people in a small secondary school. Young people must be heard. Are you listening? It’s time to tackle this problem head on. It’s time to act. It’s time to Strike Out Suicide.
It’s tragic that in times of recession more people take their own lives.
In the UK, in 2011 there were over 6,000 suicides in people aged 15 and over – that’s an increase of nearly 10% compared with the year before. It’s time to tackle this problem head on. It’s time to act. It’s time to Stomp Out Suicide.
Suicide rates are increasing across the UK with 3 of 4 suicides being by men; that’s over 4500 men a year, the same number as people who die from Leukaemia each year in the UK – That’s 12 men taking their own lives each day in the UK. It’s time to tackle this problem head on. It’s time to Sort Out Suicide
The taboo of suicide
Suicide is one of the last big taboos’ in modern day society; A phenomenon that effects so many people in our communities in so many ways and yet has not been tackled with our communities. This needs to change.
In the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. Suicide is now among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 (male and female). Suicide attempts are up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicides.
Although suicide rates had traditionally been highest amongst elderly males, rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of all countries.
There are so many factors that are associated with suicide such as social factors, cultural factors, economic crisis, work stresses, mental health difficulties, family issues, substance misuse, sexual orientation, individual crisis and bullying.
closer to home
In Britain, each year, more than 6000 people kill themselves; that’s 4000 more deaths per year than occur on all our roads.
Yet suicide remains a taboo subject that most people won’t entertain talking about it, never mind feeling able to support someone who they think might be considering taking their own life.
At Forward For Life we are constantly striving to develop programmes that support communities and professionals from all walks of life including our Peer Support Programmes and our Suicide Prevention Training Programmes.
We offer both bespoke and standardised training options and have also developed an on-line gatekeeper training programme for suicide prevention known as LITA as we recognise the value in diversifying our approach to best meet our clients needs.
Want to know more?
For more information about any aspects of work please don’t hesitate to contact us either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively by giving us a call on 07585776800.
BBC West Midlands 95.6 presenter Dan Kelly talked about suicide within local communities and ways of preventing them with the help of Common Unity and Forward For Life.
Master Trainers Caron Thompson and Terry Rigby, discussed the benefits of training members of the public as well as professionals to look for the signs within their communities that could help tackle suicide at the source and support communities to be suicide safer.
Offering a listening ear whilst supporting that individual to engage with sources of support is crucial to preventing suicide.
Media attention to suicide prevention came on the back of the story of Jamie Harrington, a Young Ambassador for Dublin becoming the next European Capital of Culture in 2020, who helped a man find reasons for living on a bridge in his home town. This story went viral with Jamie being repaid in a very special way. The man who had kept in contact with Jamie since their encounter on the bridge told him the news that his girlfriend was having a child, and they were going to name the child after him.
Originally published 2015. Author T. Rigby
Common Unity & Forward For Life speak live on BBC WM 95.6 on the topic of suicide and suicide prevention.
Common Unity, Forward For Life and Time to Change were invited to speak at BBC West Midlands Radio 95.6 on ChatBack on the subject of suicide and more importantly, suicide prevention.
Why not have a listen to the recording below.
After receiving the first Suicide Safer Community Award presented by Forward For Life and Common Unity, Trident Reach the Peoples Charity launched its own press release on the 23rd December 2013 (see below). The press release highlights the benefits to its customers of a combined approach to suicide prevention.
Who are we?
Established in 2012 in Birmingham, we are a Social Enterprise that through our programmes of work and training aim to support our communities and professionals from across the board to become more suicide aware and be enablers of improved quality of life.
FFL work alongside communities, the Health and Social Care sector and Private with a specialist knowledge in the fields of Mental Health, Well-Being and Suicide Prevention.
We engage with the core belief that communities and professionals across all walks of life have the ability to make a real difference in their own and others health and wellbeing.
Our particular passion centres on Suicide Prevention and we believe the key to reducing the number of deaths by suicide does not just lie in the hands of health professionals but must be, and can be, dealt with effectively by everybody whatever their background.
“by engaging communities directly and by giving community members the skills and ongoing development opportunities to support people at risk of suicide, I believe, we can make a real difference.”
Our EPIC approach
Developed alongside Common Unity in 2016, Forward For Life adopts the EPIC approach to meet our aims as an organisation.
Through programmes that Educate, Protect, Intervene and Champion we support people to know what needs to be done to keep themselves and those around them as well as they can be.
Our approach to improving wellbeing recognises that short term investment in individual wellbeing has huge benefits in the long term.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – Benjamin Franklin
That’s why people are at the heart of everything we do. So, all our
programmes don’t start with illness, they start with building health and wellbeing.
Knowledge is power, and if people are educated to know what helps them function in a more healthy way, then people have the power to look after themselves better.
The learning we promote is one that helps people help themselves and help others. Being able to recognise and support others when they are struggling has benefits for all.
Life often throws us a curve ball. Our programmes support people to know what techniques they can use to best cope with the challenges we often unexpectedly face.
Good wellbeing is paramount in realising a good quality of life. We utilise every opportunity, be it training, programme development, events design or strategic support, to champion the importance of good wellbeing for all. We also champion other like-minded organisations across the health and social care sector.
Get in touch
If you want to hear more about what we do or how to access our training then please contact us.