New suicide prevention training programme launched for World Suicide Prevention Day

Posted on: 8 September 2015

A programme aimed at reducing the numbers of suicides across Devon is being rolled out – thanks to partnership between the County Council’s and Torbay’s Public Health teams.

For the first time in the region, a specialist suicide prevention course, called ASIST will be available to agencies and businesses where staff could potentially come into contact with people contemplating suicide. The programme is being announced to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day (Thursday September 10).

The training comes as a result of a £65,000 South West allocation from Health Education England to support the development of suicide prevention training.

ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) is an internationally recognised course, shown by major studies to significantly reduce incidences of suicide. The training teaches people effective intervention skills and helps build suicide prevention networks in the community.

Six trainers have just been recruited, and after receiving training will start delivering the 2-day course early next year.

Alison Hill, Chair of Trustees for charity Pete’s Dragons, said: “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to become a trainer of ASIST in Devon and Torbay.  Although Pete’s Dragons as a charity is predominantly engaged with supporting the bereaved by suicide, we also have suicide prevention as one of our objectives as we see first- hand the devastating effect suicide has on those left behind.

“Being ASIST trained myself, I thoroughly believe in the course.  Its principles are simple yet extremely effective.  75% of suicides are “out of the blue” with the deceased not having been engaged with mental health services or any other organisation.

“I believe that those suicides are preventable and being able to equip members of the local community with the tools to assist someone in distress and get them to a place of safety will contribute to a lowering of suicides.

“In turn this will reduce the amount of people within Devon dealing with its devastating aftermath.”

The launch of the training programme builds on work carried out last year by the University of Exeter Peninsular Medical School, which led to the creation and distribution of a leaflet ‘It’s safe to talk about suicide’, supported and funded by the council’s Public Health. Almost 15,000 leaflets have been used by a range of organisations and services in a range of settings to support training, provide information, increase awareness and support a conversation.

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Initiatives such as this ASIST training helps people break through the stigma associated with suicide, and gives people the skills to help identify and provide appropriate support to someone who might be feeling suicidal.

“Talking about suicide to someone who is depressed does not make them more likely to carry it out, and often that intervention can lead to someone seeking the help and support they need.

“This training will be available to people working in organisations where they are often known and trusted by the people they come into contact with, and will give them important skills in helping broach this emotive and sensitive subject.”

If you are would like to take part in this training or would like more information please email Nicola Glassbrook.

10 comments on “New suicide prevention training programme launched for World Suicide Prevention Day

  1. Francesco Palma says:

    I would be grateful to receive dates/details of the ASIST Suicide Prevention Training when available please.

    Thanks in advance

  2. Maryann says:

    Please send dates when you have them.
    Many thanks

  3. Celia Jones says:

    Please will you send me details of this course?

    Thank you
    Celia Jones

  4. Karen Black says:

    Hello, are there any dates yet please for this training? Thank you

  5. Sarah says:

    Hello. I would be interested in more information regarding booking on this course but cannot find out the the information. Please could you message me the details Thank you


    • louise.raymond says:

      Hi Sarah – thanks for your message – we’ve passed on your details and you should be contacted shortly with details.

  6. Lue Glover Wilson says:

    I have just heard about this course and although I am a self employed counsellor in private practice, I would be so interested in having the skills which this course seems to offer. Is there a possibility for private individuals being able to attend this cours, and if so, do you know whether the course will be provided in the mid Devon area?
    Many thanks.
    Lue Glover Wilson

    • louise.raymond says:

      Hi Lue – we’ve forwarded your email to a member of the public health team who will get back to you with details of who to contact about your request.

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