This module is not exhaustive; it does not cover every aspect or element of this important and complex topic.
This module is written from a relational perspective. It is meant to support you to build skills for navigating potentially difficult terrain. Do not consider this module to be protocol. There is much more to learn. If you are able, consider taking a course like Mental Health First Aid, and a suicide prevention program like SAFER, or ASIST. Some campuses may offer these courses. If not, and you wish to take one, do an online search to see what is available locally in your area.
- Mental Health First Aid is offered through many different agencies throughout BC. The course provides basic training on how to support someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis. The training is focussed on providing support in the moment, as is similar to a physical first aid course.
- SAFER stands for Suicide Attempt Follow-up, Education & Research. It is a program based out of Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, and they offer workshops to in Suicide Intervention and Suicide Bereavement for mental health workers and others who live locally.
- ASIST stands for Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). This is a 2-day suicide first aid workshop that is available for anyone over 16. It teaches participants how to recoginze when someone may be having thoughts of suicide, and teaches participants how to support someone’s immediate safety. ASIST offered by various agencies around North America. Check your local area for offerings.
Note that this training does not discuss or consider liability issues. Liability and related issues need to be explained and overseen by the campus where you work. Please know the policies and procedures of your institution.
If at any point you feel lost and don’t know what to do when supporting someone in a crisis, know who you need to call – discuss this with your supervisor and know protocol for such a situation. Always have a phone close by, and make sure to have the number of your contact ready.
Also keep in mind that peer support workers rarely encounter an emergency. Still, our intention with this module is to prepare you, just in case something happens!