Public Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training also known as (ASIST) is being taught close to home, with two, two-day public workshops being held this March in Kincardine and Walkerton to create ASIST certified individuals.
The course run by mentallyfit, a rural Ontario mental health advocacy group, has a multi-level strategy to train educators and first responders and the public.
"We want people to get in there and help and the reason we want as many of these resources on the ground as possible because they're able to intervene in crisis," says founder of mentallyfit Kendra Fisher.
"We are now offering and commencing training First Responders... because quite frankly they're typically the first on scene in rural communities."
Fisher says many people are aware of current awareness program "safe talk" which gives people the ability to identify the potential of a mental health issue, analogizing it to Individuals who have been trained in first aid being able to identify that someone has stopped breathing. She says someone trained in ASIST, is trained at the level of someone who can administer CPR.
ASIST teaches participants to recognize when someone may have thoughts of suicide and work with them to create a plan that will support their immediate safety.
"The ability to give them the tools to respond to those situation is invaluable," says Fisher.
Through funding mentallyfit has been able to train five ASIST trainers that can teach the two-day certification course.
Anyone 16 or older can learn and use the ASIST model.