augusta free press news

Suicide intervention training offered in February

american foundation for suicide preventionThe American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will host the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) program on February 23-24 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.

“The ASIST training can be used to help a friend or family member or a stranger you may encounter who is in crisis,” said Crystal Graham, a board member for the Virginia Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.”

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 the Out of the Darkness Walk in Staunton.

“Building a suicide-safe community is important, and through trainings like ASIST, we are on step closer,” said Graham.

ASIST is offered quarterly through AFSP, Valley Community Services Board and Mental Health America Augusta. This two-day course will be taught by Christy Letsom and Jane Wiggins.

Space is limited. Because of the demand for seats, please register only if you are able to attend the full two days, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and are not “on-call” for other duties during that time.

Participants may request documentation for 14 hours of instruction. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for licensure are available.

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

For more information on AFSP, visit

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