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SEARHC, ANTHC host safeTALK suicide intervention training

JUNEAU, May 25, 2011 — The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention Program and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) will host a safeTALK suicide intervention training on June 4-5 at the Vocational Training and Resource Center, 3239 Hospital Dr., in Juneau.

The safeTALK training is free, and participants can choose one of two sessions from 1-5 p.m. on Monday, June 4, or from 1-5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5. There is a maximum class size of 25 people, and the trainer will be Barbara Franks of ANTHC. Barbara is a suicide survivor, a gifted public speaker and has been an active member of Alaska’s suicide prevention community for many years.

SafeTALK is a suicide intervention protocol developed by the Canadian organization, LivingWorks. (The “safe” in safeTALK stands for Suicide Alertness For Everyone, while the “TALK” is Tell, Ask, Listen and KeepSafe.) SafeTALK is designed to help people be in direct contact with someone who is in a crisis, and to connect the at-risk person to suicide first aid resources. People are trained to understand the at-risk person’s frame of mind and recognize the important cultural taboos that often surround the issue of suicide. Participants are trained to recognize the signs of an imminent suicidal crisis, and to connect the at-risk individual with someone trained in ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) for a more thorough intervention. 

The safeTALK training helps prevent suicide because people become more alert suicide helpers, who are able to recognize signs that many people miss, dismiss or avoid about a person who may be thinking about suicide. You are trained to help at-risk people ask for your help, and as part of the KeepSafe step you can activate a suicide alert so the proper caregivers can be called to help the person in crisis. 

For information about the safeTALK course, contact Barbara Franks at bjfranks@anthc.org or 1-907-729-3751 (1-907-729-3652, fax). For info about safeTALK, go to http://www.livingworks.net/page/safeTALK.

If you live in Southeast Alaska and are stressed out and need help, Tléil Ayeelaxàajeekl (Don’t despair). The 24/7 toll-free SEARHC Help Line, 1-877-294-0074, is available for use by any Southeast Alaska resident who might need help working through a crisis. The SEARHC Help Line is staffed by a team of master’s-degree-level mental health therapists who will listen and provide effective, compassionate and confidential care. The SEARHC Help Line is offered as a free resource to complement the care provided at SEARHC Behavioral Health clinics. The SEARHC Help Line is supported by the 1 is 2 Many suicide prevention task force.

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