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Suicide intervention training offered in August

Asist-banner2The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will host the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) program on August 18-19 at the Salvation Army office in Waynesboro.

ASIST is the most widely used intervention skills training in the United States. It is a two-day intensive, interactive and practice-dominated course designed to help anyone recognize risk for suicide, intervene to prevent immediate harm and link persons at risk to the next level of care. Just as “CPR” skills make physical first aid possible, ASIST teaches the skills used in suicide prevention first aid.

“This class is truly for anyone who wants to help put an end to suicide,” said Crystal Graham, a suicide prevention advocate who recently completed the ASIST course. “The class teaches you to be prepared in any situation – from encountering a stranger on the street to picking up on invitations from friends or family.”

ASIST is often used by people in a variety of school and community ‘gatekeepers’ or “front line” positions. It is suitable for all school-based student support staff, agency case workers, church youth workers, police/correctional/juvenile justice staff and foster care staff, clergy and all ‘natural helpers’ who work in the field of human service. ASIST has been more recently used by ‘gatekeepers’ on college and university campuses. Participants often include a range of campus counselors and case managers, campus security, residence hall directors, campus ministry and any staff that provide direct service to others within the campus community.

Because of the generous support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, this training will be offered at no cost to anyone interested in participating. ASIST is typically valued at $250. All training materials and meals will be provided through AFSP and funds raised at last year’s Out of the Darkness Walk in Staunton.

“We are pleased to be able to offer this training in Waynesboro,” said Graham. “Building a suicide-safe community is important, and through trainings like ASIST, we are one step closer.”

Graham is the co-chair of the 2016 Greater Augusta Out of the Darkness Walk, serves on the state chapter board for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and is a field advocate for AFSP. Her twin sister, Christina, died by suicide when they were only 15.

The goal is to offer ASIST quarterly through AFSP and partners Valley Community Services Board and Mental Health America Augusta.

Space is limited. Because of the demand for seats, please register only if you are able to attend the full two days, and are not ‘on-call’ for other duties during that time.

All participants will receive documentation for 14 hours of instruction. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for licensure are available upon request.

For more information or to register, email Crystal Graham at [email protected]. Provide your first and last name, email address, preferred phone contact number.

For more information on AFSP, visit www.afsp.org/virginia.

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.