ASIST Workshop provides tools in helping prevent suicide


Article by Jesse Russell

The Adams State Counseling and Career Services Department and the SLV Mental Health Center are providing an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshop on Thursday, March 22, and Friday, March 23.

ASIST provides participants with the tools to feel more confident and competent in helping to prevent the immediate risk of suicide.

The training is led by Gregg Elliott and Laurel Carter from the Counseling and Career Services office, and Kristina Daniel from the SLV Mental Health Center. The $35 registration fee covers the cost of materials. It will take place at the Mental Health Center at 8745 County Road 9 South, and runs both days from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Light refreshments will be provided and participants should bring their own lunch. For more information or to register contact Laurel Carter by e-mail at or by phone at 719-587-7746.

Last week Career Services Suicide Prevention Outreach Coordinator Laurel Carter, received training for the workshop. She strongly recommends it to any person in a “helping” profession, such as counselors, medical professionals and those who have close interaction with students or are in a position of trust, such as teachers, administrators, clergy, coaches and mentors. Anyone over the age of 15 will benefit from the training, "The San Luis Valley," according to Carter "has increasingly high rates of suicide attempts and completions." She says "the college community works diligently to prevent such incidents with their students and employees, but many suicide attempts and completions go unreported. ASIST provides one solution to this problem by training caregivers to identify and intervene with those at risk for suicide."

The focus of ASIST is to raise people's awareness and confidence in identifying someone at-risk for suicide. and helping reduce the immediate risk of suicide. The next step involves getting that person connected to the necessary resources.

"It is not intended to be a long-term intervention process," said Carter, "but rather serves as a tool to aid in being better prepared to help when the situation arises."

For those unable to attend the ASIST workshop on March 22 and 23, there will be another on April 14 and 15. The April workshop will take place at the ASC School of Business from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days.

There will also be various training sessions in the weeks to come. During ASC Mental Health Awareness Week, April 2 through April 6, three different suicide prevention trainings will be offered.

The first, a two-day Mental Health First Aid public education program, takes place on April 2 and 3, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day. The program helps the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. This is highly recommended for workplace professionals and a great professional development and resume-building opportunity for any person.

Also, on Wednesday April 4 and Thursday April 5, the suicide prevention training, safeTALK will be offered. The three-hour safeTALK (Tell, Ask, Listen, Keep safe) prepares anyone over the age of 15 to identify persons with thoughts of suicide and connect them to suicide first aid resources.

Wednesday’s safeTALK will be offered from 8:30am-11:30am on the Adams State campus’ in the Student Union Building. Thursday’s training will be offered from 5pm-8pm in the same location.

The Counseling and Career Services department hopes to spread the word about suicide and convey the message that there is hope and help.

Carter says “we would like not only our college but local community to know that something can be done to prevent this tragedy from reoccurring and we are making an intentional effort to increase people’s awareness of the very prominent issue in the San Luis Valley while reducing the stigma attached to it.”

LivingWorks Education evolved in Canada in the mid-70’s and the ASIST workshop evolved from an Alberta-wide suicide prevention plan in the early 1980’s. Since 1983, over one million people have been trained in ASIST.

LivingWorks believes in the value of a standardized training process whereby participants in all parts of the world experience ASIST in a way that honors its history of research and development.The ASIST training is offered internationally and it is taught in the exact same way regardless of culture or demographic. There are over 5,000 trained individuals in ASIST across the globe and it is the most widely used suicide prevention program in the world.

For more information about the ASIST workshop and other suicide prevention programs offered internationally, please visit the LivingWorks website at Living Works.