ASK about Suicide to Save a Life

Date: 2013
(For resources, this is the publication date. For programs, this is the date posted.)

Information

Type:  Program/Practice, Education/Training Program
Organization:  Mental Health America of Texas
Costs: 

ASK condensed PowerPoint, 1-hr video, ASK Mobile app tool and ASK 2-page handout available at no cost at TexasSuicidePrevention.org.  In-person training, expanded versions for targeted groups, and ASK instructor trainings available for a fee.  Contact Mental Health America of Texas for more information.

Contact

Mary Ellen Nudd,Vice President, Mental Health America of Texas
Merily Keller, Suicide Prevention Education & Training 
1210 San Antonio Street, Suite 200
Austin, Texas, 78701
Voice: (512) 454-3706
Email: menudd@mhatexas.org (Mary Ellen Nudd)
Email: hodgekeller@yahoo.com (Merily Keller)

ASK about Suicide to Save a Life is a 1.5 to 4-hour workshop for adults who interact with youth or adults at risk for suicide. The program provides participants with an overview of the basic epidemiology of suicide and suicidal behavior, including risk and protective factors. Participants are trained to recognize warning signs—behaviors and characteristics that might indicate elevated risk for suicidal behavior—and how to intervene with a person they think might be at risk for suicide. Using role-playing, participants practice asking other participants about suicidal thoughts, feelings, and intentions. Participants are trained to respond to someone expressing direct suicidal communication by seeking emergency care. Participants are also trained to gather more information about a person’s risk and take action consistent with that risk if they identify a person who is not acutely suicidal. In longer workshops, participants are given Texas laws related to suicide and trained to access best practice suicide prevention information online.  Length of the training depends on which training modules are used.

The workshop was developed by reviewing existing gatekeeper training programs, research findings on gatekeeper training, and effective strategies for adult learning. Pilot testing of ASK about Suicide to Save a Life workshops was conducted, and results from the pilot testing were used to refine the workshop. 

Program Objectives

At the completion of the ASK about Suicide to Save a Life workshop, participants will have: 

  1. Increased knowledge about suicide.
  2. Increased knowledge of basic suicide intervention skills.
  3. Increased confidence to ask and respond to someone in a suicidal crisis.
  4. Increased knowledge of appropriate ways to refer a person in suicidal crisis to a mental health professional.
  5. Increased knowledge of how to assist in the aftermath of a suicide.
  6. Demonstrated that they have added the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to their cell phones and know how to access local Texas crisis lines.

Implementation Essentials

  • Participants should be aware of the suicide prevention protocols for their particular setting along with local referral points for those who may be at risk for suicide. 

2012 NSSP Objectives Addressed: 

Objective 7.1: Provide training on suicide prevention to community groups that have a role in the prevention of suicide and related behaviors.
Populations:  Adults, Young Adults Ages 18 to 25 Years, Adults Ages 26 to 55 Years, Older Adults, Youth, Children Ages 12 and Younger, Adolescents
Settings:  Communities
Strategies:  Identify and Assist, Gatekeeper Training