ASIST program empowers community to help save lives

Published on Monday, 31 January 2022 at 8:11:20 AM

Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training in Pilbara

Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service (PAMS) co-facilitated an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshop with WA Country Health Service (WACHS) and LivingWorks on January 24th and 25th to upskill the community in suicide prevention methods.

Western Australia continues to have the highest rate of suicide deaths among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

As part of the Suicide Prevention Plan for the Pilbara, the PAMS’ Social and Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) team coordinated a two-day ASIST workshop to train people on how to apply the suicide intervention model.

ASIST adopts a ‘first-aid’ approach to educate family, friends, caregivers, and community members to acknowledge when someone is in distress and intervene early to prevent escalation into suicide crisis. 

ASIST workshop facilitators Andrew, Lorna, Kesi-Maree and Rebecca engaged with 18 people from across the region to complete their training and achieve their certificates.

Participants learned to recognise the invitations of a person with thoughts of suicide and explore how to connect with this person and provide them with help.

PAMS Chief Executive Officer, Robby Chibawe said the initiative aims to enhance people's knowledge and skills to provide suicide intervention to those who are in crisis.

“A lot of people that are at risk often do not ask for help, therefore it is important that we learn to recognise those signs and support positive change,” said Mr Chibawe.

“PAMS is proud to have a Provisional ASIST trainer as a member of their staff and enable local people to learn more about suicide prevention and support those who are struggling with their mental health.”

“If we can empower more people in the community to identify and implement suicide prevention strategies, we can work together to help save lives.”

Thank you to WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) for funding this initiative.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or is distressed, please seek help:

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
  • Mensline: 1300 789 978
  • Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
  • Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636

In an emergency, please call 000.

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