Suicide is a serious issue, with one in five people considering it at any given time. Orla Ryan reports on the recent ASIST course in NUI Galway…
At any given time, one in five people will have suicidal thoughts. This fact was one of many eye-opening statistics shared with students who took part in a recent suicide first aid course in NUI Galway.
Participants were also informed that people who have made a previous suicide attempt are 100 times more likely to die by suicide.
The aim of the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training course is to equip partakers with the required skills to identify when somebody might be depressed or suicidal.
Students were taught how to connect with, understand and assist an individual who is experiencing suicidal thoughts or tendencies.
The initiative was originally due to take place in the college in October but was cancelled due to HSE cutbacks.
Following the controversial decision, the Students’ Union lobbied the Government and funding was restored.
The hands-on training programme took place on campus on February 14 and 15 and eighteen students attended.
“ASIST courses are hugely important globally – evaluations have shown that where ASIST is being rolled out extensively amongst communities, the incidence of suicide has dropped,” said Mark Logan, ASIST trainer and Regional Manager at RehabCare West.
“People come in feeling worried and anxious about the course and leave feeling confident about what they can do.
“The evaluations are universally excellent because people leave with a set of skills and confidence to know what to do if somebody is at risk of suicide,” Mr Logan added.
Joanna Brophy, Assistant Manager of NUI Galway’s Students’ Union, stated; “It was great to work with Headsup and we look forward to running the course again, most likely in October 2013.”
The model for the ASIST course was originally developed by the Canadian mental health initiative LivingWorks in 1982. The programme is the most widely used suicide intervention training course in the world – over one million people have been trained globally.
The NUI Galway Students’ Union has been running the two-day ASIST course on campus once a semester since 2009.
In Ireland the course is facilitated by the HSE and Headsup – a Rehab Group initiative that promotes positive mental health among young people.
Over the past decade, some 25,000 people have participated in the ASIST programme nationally.
For further information on mental health support, text HEADSUP to 50424 or visit www.headsup.ie.
Details on ASIST and other mental health courses are available on the National Office for Suicide Prevention website – www.nosp.ie.
For additional information on RehabCare West, telephone 091 755 686 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.