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.

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