Who Can Prevent Suicide?
Local and national discussions occur about who is responsible for preventing suicide: The schools? Mental Health Counselors? Law Enforcement? The Hospital? Parents?
Ad companies try to find models who represent the audience they are trying to reach. Who represents the "face" prevention? A program? A sad looking person? A happy looking person? Just...Who? The answer is:
Each of Us!
Just as suicide can impact all of us, we can all prevent suicide. BestCare believes that if everyone in our community knows that suicide is preventable, knows the risks and warning signs of suicide, and knows how to connect people at risk to the level of care they need, we can save lives!
BestCare's Prevention Team identified the Connect Suicide Prevention model, a National Best Practice training program proven to work in preventing suicide. The Connect model is unique in that it focuses on community mobilization in order to influence different factors that impact suicide risk.
The overlapping rings in the model below illustrate how factors at one level influence factors at other levels. By teaching prevention to our community members, we are enhancing prevention within families, faith groups, cultural groups, and tribes; we are strengthing prevention efforts within the community and within society itself.
The Connect model for suicide prevention uses the social ecological approach, which illustrates how factors at one level influence factors at another level. This approach looks at individuals within a larger context. While suicide incidents are generally the act of an individual, they occur in the context of the individual’s interpersonal relationships, tribe, community, larger society and the culture in which we live.
Effective sustainable change to reduce risk of suicide requires working across multiple systems within the whole community.
BestCare's prevention team selected a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention by training multiple trainers within Jefferson County--not just prevention staff.
This effort sustains prevention efforts across Jefferson County for years to come.
Postvention is a planned response after a suicide to help with healing and reduce risk of further suicide incidents.
Because knowing someone who has died by suicide is one of the highest risk factors for suicide, postvention has been proven to be a critical piece of suicide prevention. Training includes:
Best practices on how to coordinate a comprehensive and safe response to a suicide
Strategies for reducing the risk of contagion
Review of the complexity of suicide-related grief, especially for different age groups
Recommendations for funerals and memorial activities
Suggestions of how to talk to survivors of suicide loss to promote their healing
Best practices for safe messaging about suicide and responding to the media
Identification of community resources to promote healing
Friends of youth at risk are typically the ones who see suicidal warnings before adults. Because youth may not know what to do about a friend at risk, or may keep a suicide plan “secret,” it is important for youth to be trained in suicide prevention and intervention.
Youth Leaders in Jefferson County completed a two-day training for youth leaders and adult co-facilitators that prepared youth and adults to conduct Connect Youth Suicide Prevention training for teenage audiences.
Research consistently shows that peer training is a very effective method for educating youth.
Training delivered takes into account developmental considerations of high school-age youth as well as safe messaging guidelines.
All materials, activities, and PowerPoint slides were developed to meet the needs of youth and guide their involvement in youth suicide prevention.
The Connect model focuses on a community-based approach to suicide prevention and fosters relationship building and the exchange of resources among participants.
Mental Health First Aid
Mental Health First Aid teaches community members how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.
Participants learn the skills they need to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or who is experiencing a crisis.
Depression and mood disorders
Substance Use Disorders
MHFA teaches about recovery and resiliency – the belief that individuals experiencing these challenges can and do get better, and use their strengths to stay well.
Youth Mental Health First Aid
Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis.
Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations.
Topics covered include:
Disorders in which psychosis may occur
Disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders
Teen Mental Health First Aid
Teen Mental Health First Aid teaches students grade 10-12 how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders among their friends and peers.
The training gives students the skills to have supportive conversations with their friends and get a responsible and trusted adult to take over as necessary. It is provided in three interactive classroom sessions of 90 minutes
A critical step in the teen Mental Health First Aid action plan is connecting youth with a trusted adult.
Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM)
Access to lethal means can determine whether a person who is suicidal lives or dies. This course explains why means restriction is an important part of a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention. It will teach you how to ask a person at risk for suicide about his or her access to lethal means, and work with the person and families to reduce their access. Training is free and available online at:
Offered in partnership with Deschutes County, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training or ASIST, was developed by LivingWorks Education in Canada and is a two-day, in-depth training designed to help caregivers recognize risk and learn how to intervene to prevent the immediate risk of suicide. The workshop is for all caregivers (any person in a position of trust). This includes professionals, paraprofessionals and lay people. It is suitable for mental health professionals, nurses, physicians, pharmacists, teachers, counselors, youth workers, police and correctional staff, school support staff, clergy, and community volunteers. The program is formally designated as an 'evidence-based program' in Oregon and is listed on the Suicide Prevention Resource Center and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Best Practice registry. For more information check out the LivingWorks website at https://www.livingworks.net/.
QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer — three simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide.
Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help.
BestCare trainers can provide free QPR training to your community group, or QPR can be learned through the QPR Institute's Gatekeeper course in as little as one hour.
If you’re worried about yourself or someone else, and you are wondering if you should get help…
The answer is YES!