safeTALK is intended as ‘suicide alertness’ training. safeTALK, Suicide Alertness for Everyone, teaches individuals to recognise persons with thoughts of suicide and to connect them to suicide intervention resources.
What is the Purpose of the Course?
safeTALK is designed for communities or organisations that already have ASIST trained helpers in place to maximise intervention as the main suicide prevention focus.
Objectives of the Course
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.
Participants do not need any formal preparation to attend the training—anyone age 15 or older who wants to make a difference can learn the safeTALK steps.
safeTALK is based on certain fundamental assumptions about suicide:
- Suicide is a community-wide health problem.
- Suicide is not mental illness.
- Thoughts of suicide are understandable, complex and personal.
- Suicide can be prevented.
- Most people with thoughts of suicide want to live.
- Most people with thoughts of suicide indicate, directly or indirectly, that they want help to live.
- Help-seeking is encouraged by open, direct and honest talk about suicide.
- The best way to identify people with thoughts of suicide is to ask them directly about their thoughts.
- Relationships are the context of suicide intervention.
- Intervention should be the main suicide prevention focus.
- Cooperation is the essence of intervention.
- Intervention skills are known and can be learned.
- Large numbers of people can be taught intervention skills.
- Evidence of effectiveness should be broadly defined.
How safeTALK Works
Most people with thoughts of suicide do not 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.
Course Format Content
- safeTALK is a half-day session.
- It is taught by one trainer with groups of up to 30 participants.
- It complements ASIST and other intervention training courses.
- Participants learn how to provide practical help to persons with thoughts of suicide.
- It prepares participants to activate a suicide alert by following the TALK (Tell, Ask, Listen and KeepSafe) steps.
safeTALK features both presentations and interactive elements. Trainers will facilitate participants’ involvement through:
- Trainer presentations.
- Diverse selection of audiovisuals.
- Interactive discussion and questions.
- TALK steps practice.
- TALK wallet card.
- “You can TALK to Me” stickers.
The Alert Helper
An alert helper:
- Is aware that opportunities to help a person with thoughts of suicide are sometimes missed, dismissed and avoided.
- Wants persons with thoughts of suicide to invite them to help.
- Recognises when a person might be having thoughts of suicide.
- Engages a person with thoughts in direct and open talk about suicide.
- Listens to the person’s talk about suicide to show that they take the thoughts seriously.
- Knows the name and contact information of local suicide intervention resources.
- Moves quickly to connect the person with thoughts to someone trained in suicide intervention.
safeTALK and ASIST
safeTALK is designed to complement ASIST, a two-day suicide intervention skills workshop. Both safeTALK and ASIST
participants have an important role to play in helping to
achieve this goal.
safeTALK training focuses on using the TALK steps – Tell, Ask, Listen, KeepSafe – to engage persons with thoughts of suicide and help to connect them with life affirming resources, while using ASIST skills helps these resources provide safety from suicide for now. In effect, safeTALK and ASIST-trained helpers work together with individuals to help them keep safe from suicide.
ASIST’s intervention model involves establishing a collaborative relationship to work through suicide to a place of safety. Many training participants include safeTALK and ASIST in their suicide prevention toolkit.
A range of methods are used, including:
- Role-play; and
A certificate of attendance is awarded on successful completion.