Healthy Acadia to offer suicide intervention skills training

ELLSWORTH — Healthy Acadia will offer Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) in August. The two-day course will be offered Aug. 11 and 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at the Church of God, 53 Christian Ridge Road, Ellsworth. Another session will be offered on Aug. 19 and 20 at Atlantic Oceanside, 119 Eden St., Bar Harbor. Classes for that session will also meet from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

ASIST is an evidence-based curriculum from Living Works Education focused on intervention. Participants will learn how to safely engage with community members who are having thoughts of suicide to help them find “safety for now” and assist them in accessing community-based resources and supports. Participants will also learn how to use language which does not perpetuate stigma associated with having thoughts or feelings about suicide, understand the prevalence of suicidal thoughts and actions in our community, and connect with community resources. Another important aspect of the training will be prevention — working to build a suicide-safer community by learning warning signs for suicide and how to integrate resilience and connection to prevent thoughts of suicide in our community.

“To date, over one million people have been trained in ASIST,” said Tara Young, Healthy Acadia’s Drug-Free Communities coordinator and certified ASIST trainer. “Many more are needed to help ensure our communities are doing everything we can to intervene and provide help for people who are having thoughts of suicide.”

“ASIST training takes away the taboo to enable discussions about suicide, and teaches effective intervention techniques,” said Daniel Jones, a certified ASIST trainer who serves as co-lead pastor alongside his wife, Nicole, at Christian Ridge Church of God. “For me, I have struggled with thoughts of suicide in the past … and one [thought] is just one too many, so if we can help make a more suicide-aware or safe community … it’s worth it!”

The ASIST training treats suicide as the public health issue that it is. ASIST training is comparable to CPR training — anyone in the community may be in a position to render CPR, and may have no other medical training, or they may be a doctor or a nurse. ASIST is similarly versatile. Any individual aged 16 and older, including teachers, students, doctors, mental health professionals, parents and others, can become ASIST-trained.

“We have offered this training for over 10 years,” said Young. “Every time we’ve held an ASIST class, at least one participant tells us that they used what they learned to help a friend, co-worker or family member and that the person they helped told them, ‘You saved my life.”

For more information, or to register, contact Young at 812-2090 or email [email protected].

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