SafeTALK: Suicide Alertness Training in Inchinnan
This week several members of IDT and the community successfully completed the LivingWorks SafeTALK Suicide Alertness Training - helping to prepare them to identify those who may be thinking about suicide, making sure that signs of suicide are not missed, dismissed or avoided and ensuring that those at risk can be connected to suicide-prevention resources.
Training was delivered by Dr Marie Murphy of MRM Psychology and funded through Engage Renfrewshire's 'Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund'.
What is safeTALK?
SafeTALK is a half-day training in suicide alertness. It helps participants recognise a person with thoughts of suicide and connect them with resources who can help them in choosing to live. Participants don’t need any formal preparation to attend the training—anyone age 15 or older who wants to make a difference can learn the safeTALK steps.
How safeTALK works:
Most people with thoughts of suicide don’t want to die— instead, they are looking for a way to work through the pain in their lives. Through their words and actions, they usually invite others to help them in making a choice for life. safeTALK teaches participants to recognise these invitations, engage with the person with thoughts of suicide, and connect them with resources to help them be safer from suicide. These resources could include health care professionals, first responders, or crisis line workers—among many others who have suicide intervention training.
Goals and objectives:
safeTALK helps participants become alert to suicide. Suicide-alert people are better prepared to connect persons with thoughts of suicide with life-affirming help. Over the course of their training, safeTALK participants will learn to:
Notice and respond to situations where suicide thoughts may be present,
Recognise that invitations for help are often overlooked,
Move beyond the common tendency to miss, dismiss, and avoid suicide,
Apply the TALK steps: Tell, Ask, Listen, KeepSafe
Know community resources and how to connect someone with thoughts of suicide to them for further suicide-safer help.
SafeTALK training is based around four key steps: Tell, Ask, Listen, KeepSafe
Tell - is the point where a trained spotter notices behaviour or speech that may be signs of suicidal thoughts. It’s rare for someone to openly tell someone that they want to die. However there are other signs. Some maybe that they are caring less about themselves, their passions or their family, giving away items, withdrawing, having mood changes or using drugs or alcohol. They also may say things like that they feel alone, like nobody cares, like they are a burden to others, like they need to escape, or they have no purpose.
Ask - Once someone shows signs, a spotter then needs to Ask, and be direct about it. One way to do this is to refer to the words or actions that the person had exhibited. For example “I saw that you have been quiet lately and you said that no one cares, are you thinking about suicide?” This gives the person a chance to open up, and it lets them know you are paying attention. They may be silent or dismissive. This is an opportunity to ask again, and invite them to talk about their feelings.
Listen - Encourage them to talk by being a good listener. “You don’t need to convince them to live, or find a magic key… they want to talk to somebody about not wanting to live … Persons with thoughts of suicide can talk themselves out of their thoughts if they have someone who can keep the conversation going.”
KeepSafe - At a certain point the conversation may be going on or may be winding down, but that person still needs professional help with their struggles. This is the Keep Safe stage. The spotter keeps the person safe by making sure they are connected with a professional. This can mean taking them to a counsellor or sitting there with them while they call a helpline, or even going with them to an emergency evaluation. Even if the person feels better after a conversation, the connection is key to keeping them safe.