What is ASIST?
Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) is a two-day interactive workshop in suicide first aid. ASIST teaches participants to recognise when someone may have thoughts 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.
Who provides ASIST workshops?
Each ASIST workshop is led by at least two registered LivingWorks trainers. These trainers will have attended ASIST Training for Trainers, presented workshops regularly, and submitted continuous quality assurance reports. All trainers receive ongoing support from LivingWorks as they work to build suicide-safer communities.
The provision of ASIST training in the Republic of Ireland, is funded by the HSE.
Who should attend an ASIST workshop?
ASIST is for everyone. Anyone 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. Nurses, GPs, mental health professionals, pharmacists, teachers, counsellors, youth workers, Gardaí, first responders, 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.
What are the core features of an ASIST workshop?
Here is what you can expect at your ASIST training:
- ASIST is held over two consecutive days for a total of approx 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.
- 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.
Learning goals and objectives
Over the course of their two-day workshop, ASIST participants learn to:
- Understand the ways that 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.
- 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.
- The content of the ASIST workshop may be difficult to deal with if you are feeling emotionally vulnerable. If you have suicidal thoughts, or have been recently bereaved, particularly through suicide, you may wish to delay taking part in this course until you're feeling stronger, emotionally.
- ASIST training is not suitable for those aged under 18.
- Training is free but booking is essential.