Background to ASIST

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.   


A Suicide Safer Community

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.

The SOS Campaign

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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Let’s stop the hush hush approach

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.  

Our approach

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 info@forwardforlife.org or alternatively by giving us a call on 07585776800.

BBC Dan Kelly Talks about suicide in the West Midlands

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.

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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

#reasonsforliving

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BBC WM 95.6 Topic of Suicide

Common Unity & Forward For Life speak live on BBC WM 95.6 on the topic of suicide and suicide prevention.

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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.

Birmingham charity scoops award for work to tackle suicide

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.

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A charity which is working to save lives by tackling suicide rates in Birmingham has scooped the first award of its kind in recognition of its efforts.

Trident Reach the People Charity, based in Birmingham, supports vulnerable people across the Midlands, including the homeless and people with mental health problems.

They received the award at a presentation at Trident Reach’s Washington Court homeless scheme in Birmingham last week (18th December).Bosses have been presented with the Suicide Safer Community Award, a new accolade presented by the Forward For Life and Common Unity Social Enterprise.

The award recognises a number of life-saving initiatives at Trident Reach aimed at reducing suicides among its customers and the wider community.

It has been heavily involved in the development of a new Birmingham Suicide Prevention Strategy and action plan to reduce the incidence of suicidal behaviour across the city.

Charity staff have been trained in suicide ‘first aid’ by undertaking an ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) course. The two-day skills-building workshop prepares care professionals and volunteers so they can help people having suicidal thoughts.

Staff have also received safeTALK training – a half-day course covering practical steps to help someone who is thinking of taking their own life.

Anthony McCool, Charity Lead at Trident Reach, said: “We are proud to receive this inaugural award for such life-saving and life-changing work.

“Christmas is traditionally a time of festivities and merrymaking but, for many people, it can be a time of great emotional stress. Some people will get depressed and wonder if they can carry on any more.

“But Trident Reach is dedicated to helping the most vulnerable people in our society and, through the ASIST and safeTALK training, we have helped equip our staff with the skills to ease the burden on people who feel that they have nothing more to live for.”

Terry Rigby, Company Director at Forward For Life, said: “Trident Reach is leading the way in its work to save lives by having the necessary skills to best reach out to people when they are at their lowest ebb.”

Caron Thompson, Company Director at Common Unity, said: “It is only fitting that Trident Reach, because of the charity’s dedication to the suicide prevention agenda, should be the first to receive our Suicide Safer Community Award.”

Birmingham-based Common Unity and Forward For Life are leading the way across the West Midlands and further afield in offering the internationally recognised safeTALK and ASIST courses as a joint approach to establishing ‘Suicide Safer Communities’. They bring with them nearly 40 years of expertise and specialist knowledge in the fields of suicide prevention and mental health.

Trident Reach provides housing, care and support services to vulnerable people with a range of needs across the Midlands region, including homeless people, those with disabilities or mental health problems, the elderly and people fleeing domestic abuse.

Ref: Published by Kerri Smith for Reach the People Charity

Forward For Life

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 sector bringing 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.

Educate

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.

Intervene

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.

Protect

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.

Champion

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.

E. info@forwardforlife.org

Tel: 07585776800