Why LivingWorks Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training isn’t a ‘one-off’

Fantastic. Your team has attended LivingWorks Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). Job done right? Another item ticked off the list. No need to build the cost into further budgets, everyone’s skilled up and ready to go for the rest of their careers.

Firstly, AMAZING if you have gotten this far – you’ve accepted that suicide prevention is your business and recognised this is a challenge your team can help with this. Not only that, but you’ve understood that your team should receive support through training to do this, and you appreciate the value behind ASIST – arguably the only skills building suicide intervention training that exists. Participants who attend ASIST are more prepared, confident, willing and able to ask about suicide and intervene. BUT does this feeling last? Do participants remember the knowledge, and keep the skills they develop, forever?

I wonder, if you could dig out your policy for manual handling.. for cybersecurity… Safeguarding… Physical first aid….

I’m fairly confident that each of those policies, would include words to the effect of ‘training to be completed by staff every X years’.

So, I’m curious, why so many organisations feel this should be different for suicide intervention training. That once the training bas been completed, there’s no need for staff to ever complete it again.

Why should we complete ASIST reguarly?

The need for regular, recurring training isn’t any different for suicide intervention training. You’re equipping your staff with suicide first aid, and like all training, memories fade and behaviours and skills can be unlearnt.

A suicide-first aid intervention is a life and death situation, and if your team haven’t used their skills for 2 or more years, recalling their learning will be difficult. If helpers feel unprepared, unconfident they will be less willing to ask about suicide and provide an intervention – some potential helpers may avoid help-giving altogether.

My team support individuals with thoughts of suicide on a regular basis – do they need to attend ASIST regularly?

Even if your team are frequently putting their training into practice, it’s still important for them to attend regular training. Without regular training there is a possible risk for caregivers to become desensitised. ASIST would give your team an opportunity to revisit their thoughts, feelings and attitudes around suicide and the experiences they have had which shape these. This reflective process would enable your team to consider their practice and what impacts on their help-giving qualities and approaches, as well as reminding them of the steps to take in an intervention and re-learn the skills needed to do this well.

How often should we attend ASIST?

The recommendation for individuals, is to attend ASIST every 3 years. Grab your certificate now, or check your calendar – if you and your team attended ASIST 2.5 years ago or more, contact Mental Health Learning to arrange a course today.

Survivors Of Suicide Loss Day – 19th November

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is an event where survivors of suicide loss come together to find solace, support, and connection.

Suicide Case Statistics In the UK In the Past Few Years

More than 5,583 suicides were registered in 2021 in England and Wales, which was 6.9 higher than in 2020 (5,224 deaths) and equal to an age-standardized mortality rate of 10.7 deaths per 100,000 individuals.

Moreover, Provisional analysis indicates 10.7 suicides per 100,000 people in Quarter 1 (January to March) 2022 in England, including 1,314 deaths. In Quarter 2 (April to June) 2022, there were 9.7 suicides per 100,000 people, including 1,201 deaths.


The Impact Of Increasing Suicide Cases On Society

Experiencing a loss of a loved one to death by suicide can be devastating. After a person experiences death due to suicide, the emotional sensations that surface can be significant and gut-wrenching. Many individuals may feel guilty and wonder what they could have done to prevent the tragedy.

Each death leaves family and friends distraught and bewildered, fighting to comprehend and deal with their feelings about this loss. Yet, as a result of the stigma around suicide and mental health issues, as well as multiple layers of complicated emotions around suicide, people may be hesitant to reach out for help and support or may not be able to get the needed help they need to cope with this monumental loss.

Survivors Of Suicide Loss: Play Your Part!

Several recent studies have shown that it’s imperative to discuss and compensate for the well-being of survivors. Studies focusing on survivors of suicide have found that feelings of belongingness, talking about the tragedy, and social support are instrumental in their recovery and growth. In 2019, a study of suicide loss found that having greater social connection was correlated with fewer symptoms of depression, less bereavement difficulty, and increased personal growth.

individual being

One survey found that people tend to refrain from talking about their trauma to family and friends. This lack of sharing often leads to loneliness, detachment, difficulty coping, and a higher likelihood of sleep problems and depression. The authors state that when suicide survivors speak and share, the more meaningful trust helps them recover and prevents them from developing social security disabilities and health issues. You can help, by creating opportunities for loss to be shared and freely spoken about, reducing feelings of isolation. Mental Health Learning is doing the same so.

How Is Mental Health Learning Creating a Change?

Mental Health Learning provides mental health and suicide prevention training professionally tailored to your organisation or community. Their courses are 60 minutes to 2 days; they can come to you at your organisation or the location of your choice. Many of their courses can also be taken online. To know more about their courses and plan, visit their site.


Suicide is a tragedy that impacts everyone differently. However, bystanders and survivors can unite to support one another on Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. This day is an opportunity to reflect upon the loss of a loved one to suicide, open up about your own experience, and connect with others who understand what you’re going through. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out for help.