Lifeline Aotearoa Suicide Prevention Education Background
Lifeline Aotearoa began teaching the ASIST programme in 2005. The ASIST programme is just one of a suite of suicide prevention programmes developed by LivingWorks Education Inc (Canada) from 1983 onwards. A bit of history of this development can be found below.
Four human service professionals (in psychiatry, psychology and social work) collaborated with the provincial and state governments of Alberta and California, and the Alberta Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association to develop suicide intervention training programs for front‐line caregivers/gatekeepers of all disciplines and occupational groups. They formed a partnership Ramsay, Tanney, Tierney and Lang (RTTL) in 1983 and created LivingWorks Education Inc. as a public service corporation in 1991.
LivingWorks is dedicated to enhancing suicide intervention skills at the community level, and committed to making its suicide prevention training programs widely available, cost effective, interactive and easy to learn, with practical applications designed for all types of caregivers.
Its programs are delivered through an extensive network of community‐based registered trainers in Canada, Australia, Scotland, Norway and the United States. Smaller numbers of trainers are located in New Zealand, Ireland, Guam, Hong Kong, Russia, and Singapore. Trainers are qualified to present the ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) workshop through a five‐day Training for Trainers (T4T) course. The LivingWorks objective is to register qualified trainers in local communities, who in turn can prepare front‐line gatekeepers with the confidence and competence to apply first aid suicide intervention in times of individual and family crises.
In its country of origin, Canada, participants in ASIST include provincial, state, and federal government departments and agencies involved in alcohol and drug abuse, family and children, mental health, military, police and corrections services; public school boards, hospital departments, native communities, and non‐governmental community mental health and crisis intervention organisations.
LivingWorks has trained and registered more than 2,500 locally‐based suicide intervention workshop instructors since 1983. These workshop trainers have provided first aid suicide intervention training to more than 800,000 community participants from all walks of life. An average of over 25,000 participants annually attend ASIST. ASIST is by far the most widely used, acclaimed and researched program of its kind in the world.
ASIST workshops are user‐financed through institutional sponsorships and individual registration fees. As a result of the ASIST experience, caregivers fears about “suicide” are reduced, and their knowledge and skills are increased. In essence, they feel empowered to effectively deal with suicidal situations. Participants come away from ASIST knowing that suicide is a preventable problem.