Type of Program: Education & Training
Ages: 15 and older
Implementation Essentials: 3- or 3.5-hour training by a certified SafeTALK trainer
Description: SafeTALK is a training program that teaches participants to recognize and engage persons who may be having thoughts of suicide and subsequently, connecting them with community resources trained in suicide intervention. The “safe” of SafeTALK stands for “suicide alertness for everyone.” The “TALK” letters stand for the practice actions that one does to help those with thoughts of suicide:
- Keep Safe
West Virginia has chosen this program as it challenges the attitudes that might inhibit talk about suicide widely prevalent in the West Virginia culture. There is a significant stigma associated with talk of suicide that often prohibits individuals from seeking help as well as prohibits otherwise caring individuals from being able to assist an individual in need. This training is recommended in hope of removing some of these barriers and ensure there is an increased capacity for help-seekers to have appropriately trained respondents. It is important to recognize the signs, and it is essential to be comfortable in engaging the individual in talking about suicide and spending the time to listen and show that there is a concern, so they can be connected with someone more formally trained. SafeTALK fits well with the community model of prevention and intervention as it is a complementary component to Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST).
After training, participants in the SafeTALK program should be able to:
a) challenge attitudes that inhibit open talk about suicide;
b) recognize a person who might be having thoughts of suicide;
c) engage them in direct and open talk about suicide;
d) listen to the person’s feelings about suicide to show that they are taken seriously, and e) move quickly to connect them with someone trained in suicide intervention.