As one of the trainers for the two-day Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training Workshop held at the Columbine
Center in Durango on June 2 and 3, I'd like to congratulate the 20 trainees and welcome them to the worldwide network
of more than 900,000 ASIST-trained caregivers.
The evidence-based Suicide Intervention Model taught during the ASIST Workshop is thorough and comprehensive, providing the participants with tools for immediate first aid intervention for someone considering suicide.
Recognizing the possibility of suicide and asking directly about someone's thoughts of suicide are two of the key
aspects of emergency first aid a participant in an ASIST Workshop learns.
Learning the importance of listening to the persons' reasons for wanting to die as well as listening for hints to
their reasons to want to live is followed by training on how to help the person recognize the real threat suicide
poses, and how to find agreement on life-supporting and live-promoting action. The ability to apply immediate first
aid intervention skills when thoughts of suicide arise is as vital to preventing the risk of death by suicide as CPR
is to preventing the risk of death by heart attack.
Anyone who is in a position to come into contact with someone who is considering suicide will find themselves more
ready, willing and able to provide intervention for the at-risk person - possibly saving a life - after completing
the two-day Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training.
Many thanks to Southern Ute Community Action Programs (SUCAP) for sponsoring these workshops through a grant from the
Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention; to Bonnie Ortega of Alamosa for donating her time to serve as my co-trainer;
to David Ellisor for organizing the workshop (including the wonderful lunches and snacks); to my assistant Mandy
Velasquez for her invaluable support; and especially to the 20 participants who do so much to make our communities
safer from suicide.
I look forward to meeting many more such individuals at our next ASIST Workshop in September.
For more information on suicide prevention and ASIST, visit www.livingworks.net.
Kathryn Valencia Ignacio