Program to Coach in Suicide Alertness

Free half-day event occurring August 14

A free training course being offered later this month in Outlook will help coach people in learning to see the signs associated with suicide and help those who may be suffering get the help and resources that they need.

It’s called ‘SafeTALK’, and it’s a half-day training event aimed at suicide alertness that takes place on Tuesday, August 14 at the Outlook Health Centre from 1:00 to 5:00 pm.  It helps participants recognize someone who may be having thoughts of taking their own life and connects them with resources and programming that can help them.

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The program will be run by a trainer coming in from Kindersley.  Those who may be interested in taking part don’t need any formal preparation for it, and it’s open to anyone aged 15 and older.

Stacey Gedak, a Community Mental Health Nurse at the Outlook Health Centre, says the increasing number of deaths in the area by suicide helped spur the decision to hold such an event that hopefully makes a difference.

“Living in a small town, I had heard about deaths from suicide in the community.  Too many deaths,” said Stacey, who is also a registered psychiatric nurse.  “Every time there is a death from suicide in the community, it bothers me greatly.  Do people know myself and other mental health professionals exist?  I then received some calls from community members wondering what more could be done for suicide prevention.  So, I ran with this.  Sadly, suicides in the community started people talking about suicide prevention, but compassion brought people to come forward to spur the decision to actively do something.  We live in a great community.”

As far as what people can expect from the training, Gedak says it will address the many questions that come with suicide and teach people how to approach someone who may be having such thoughts, as well as clarify a number of commonly-believed myths about suicide.

“As far as the training goes, people can expect to pick up on the comments people may make who are thinking about suicide,” she said.  “SafeTALK by LivingWorks labels these comments as invitations; invitations for the listener to ask further questions.  The training teaches people to be more comfortable with these questions, such as the one that makes most people extremely uncomfortable, “Are you having thoughts of suicide?”.  Participants are taught how to keep the person safe and about the resources available in our specific community for someone who is struggling, especially with thoughts of suicide.  The training also debunks some myths surrounding suicide and talking to someone about suicide.”

Gedak says this type of training will no doubt make an impact and help to reach those who may be suffering by preparing others to recognize the signs.  The statistics that are connected to SafeTALK programs seem to be taking things in a positive direction.

“The training will definitely have an impact on the community and for people who are suffering,” said Stacey.  “As far as statistics, according to a research article from LivingWorks, each SafeTALK trained participant carried out 0.39 interventions within the first 3 months of training.  If we trained 50 people in our community, that ends up being 19 interventions and potentially 19 lives saved or helped.  Also of great importance with the impact of this course is the increased confidence participants leave the training with.  Participants have very little confidence talking and asking someone about suicide entering the course, but they leave very confident with their new skills.  In all, the more people we can train and promote suicide awareness, the safer our community will be.”

To register for this training event, interested parties can call Stacey at 306-867-8676 (ext. 417) or text her at 306-561-7688.

© 2018 The Outlook

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