Back to Blog

Podcast Episode 3: "Young People and the ‘S’ Word"


Sep 14, 2020

The third episode in our podcast A World Where LivingWorks is “Young People and the ‘S’ Word”. This episode is all about suicide prevention in schools. How can we safely and effectively build suicide intervention skills in young people? And we ask our guests the question, what have we learned about training in schools, as well as how do we support those around young people such as teachers, parents, and carers?

Host Kim Borrowdale speaks with Associate Professor Robinson at Orygen, an Australian youth mental health organisation, where she leads a program of work focused upon youth suicide prevention. Jo has also undertaken evaluation of the efficacy and acceptability of LivingWorks safeTALK for secondary school students.

Joining Kim and Jo is Kathleen Snyder, a Senior Training Coach of ASIST with three decades of experience with that program, as well as a safeTALK Instructor. Kathleen has a Master of Social Work, is a Law Enforcement and Community Chaplain, and is the California Representative for LivingWorks, supporting more than 500 trainers in that region.

From their deep experience, both women have noticed some big takeaways.

“When we’ve done consultations with young people and we’ve talked to them about their experiences, one of things they have repeatedly said to us, we want adults to talk to us about this topic and we don’t want to be patronised, you know if adults can’t talk to us about this topic, how can we then go to them to seek help if they are telling us that it’s not ok to talk about this,” notes Jo. “I think that it’s important, you know and it might be important for the listeners as well, to be reminded that it is ok to talk about suicide publicly as long as we do it with the care and compassion it deserves.”

Kathleen agrees, “It’s interesting, kids will get more attention using the four-letter ‘S’ word as opposed to using suicide and as Jo eloquently said, that if we’re not willing to have an open, honest conversation about suicide with our colleagues and the students, then why in heavens would they come and talk to us and unfortunately after there has been a suicide on some campuses still to this day, we won’t talk about it because then we’re giving attention to it.”

On September 15 we are holding a virtual youth summit to increase awareness and drive u usage of the online interactive LivingWorks Start program. Start teaches trainees to recognize when someone is thinking about suicide and connect them to help and support. It’s part of a partnership with the California Department of Education where the state has arranged for 66,000 people to be able to take this life-saving training. Click here to learn more. If you can’t make it that day, we’ll play it from our social platforms later.

To hear our third podcast episode, listen here and watch the site each Tuesday for new episodes. Next up, Episode 4 “Putting Care in Healthcare” where host Kim Borrowdale talks to University of Calgary Nursing Professor Jacqueline Smith in Canada, and Group Chief Patient Officer Chey May Long at the National University Health Systems in Singapore.