Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) is for everyone 16 or older—regardless of prior experience—who wants to be able to provide suicide first aid. Shown by major studies to significantly reduce suicidality, the ASIST model teaches effective intervention skills while helping to build suicide prevention networks in the community.
Virtually anyone age 16 or older, regardless of prior experience or training, can become an ASIST-trained caregiver. Developed in 1983 and regularly updated to reflect improvements in knowledge and practice, ASIST is the world’s leading suicide intervention workshop. During the two-day interactive session, participants learn to intervene and help prevent the immediate risk of suicide. Over 1,000,000 people have taken the workshop, and studies have proven that the ASIST method helps reduce suicidal feelings for those at risk.
- Presentations and guidance from two LivingWorks registered trainers
- A scientifically proven intervention model
- Powerful audiovisual learning aids
- Group discussions
- Skills practice and development
- A balance of challenge and safety
ASIST has saved and changed hundreds of thousands of lives around the world.
Want to get involved with this award-winning program? Here's how:
We mean it when we say that ASIST is for everyone. Virtually anyone aged 16 and older can learn the skills to intervene and save a life from suicide. Professionals as well as members of the community at large have all found great value in ASIST over the years.
Many professionals attend ASIST because suicide intervention skills are essential for their work. In many organizations, ASIST is a mandatory component of training. Nurses, physicians, mental health professionals, pharmacists, teachers, counselors, youth workers, police, first responders, correctional staff, school support staff, clergy, and volunteers have all found that ASIST complements their existing training and knowledge.
Other people attend simply because they want to be able to help someone in need, in much the same way they might learn CPR. Because the training is comprehensive and doesn’t rely on prior qualifications, they can have the same meaningful experience as a professional caregiver.
Ultimately, ASIST is founded on the principle that everyone can make a difference in preventing suicide. The more people in the community who have suicide intervention training, the more likely it is they will be able to identify someone at risk and intervene to keep them safe.
Each ASIST workshop is led by at least two registered LivingWorks trainers. In order to become registered, trainers must complete an intensive course called an ASIST Training for Trainers (T4T), present workshops regularly, and submit continuous quality assurance reports. Some ASIST trainers work independently while others belong to agencies and organizations, but all of them share a commitment to excellence in suicide intervention skills training.
There are currently more than 6,000 active ASIST trainers around the world, and all trainers receive ongoing support from LivingWorks as they work to build suicide-safer communities.
Each ASIST workshop shares many core features that make up the LivingWorks international standard. Here is what you can expect at your ASIST training:
- ASIST is held over two consecutive days for a total of 15 hours.
- ASIST is based on principles of adult learning. It values participants’ experiences and contributions and encourages them to share actively in the learning process.
- ASIST workshops always have a minimum of two active ASIST trainers present for the entire two days. If there are more than 30 participants, there will be at least three trainers. Workshops over 45 participants are not recommended and should be split into two separate sessions instead.
- Trainers show two award-winning videos in the course of the workshop. Cause of Death? provides a common starting point for the discussion of attitudes about suicide, while two versions of It Begins with You illustrate the process of a suicide intervention.
- Some parts of ASIST take place with all participants together, and others take place in a smaller work group. This helps create a balance between safety and challenge. Participants need not disclose personal experiences to the whole group.
- Local resources are provided and their availability in the community is discussed.
- Participant materials include a 20-page workbook, wallet card, and stickers. Participants also receive a certificate upon completing the workshop.
The ASIST workshop is divided into five sections that follow in a logical progression to gradually build comfort and understanding around suicide and suicide intervention.
Preparing: Sets the tone, norms, and expectations of the learning experience.
Connecting: Sensitizes participants to their own attitudes towards suicide. Creates an understanding of the impact that attitudes can have on the intervention process.
Understanding: Overviews the intervention needs of a person at risk. It focuses on providing participants with the knowledge and skills to recognize risk and develop safeplans to reduce the risk of suicide.
Assisting: Presents a model for effective suicide intervention. Participants develop their skills through observation and supervised simulation experiences in large and small groups.
Networking: Generates information about resources in the local community. Promotes a commitment by participants to transform local resources into helping networks.
Although CEU standards vary from one organization to another, many agencies and licensure boards will grant CEU (continuing education unit) credits for attending an ASIST workshop. For more information, please see the CEU resource page.
The cost of attending an ASIST workshop varies by location for a number of reasons. For example, some organizations may subsidize workshop costs. You will be able to see these costs when you find a local training and register.
The small financial return to LivingWorks offsets development costs, participant materials, trainer support, and quality assurance. As a social enterprise, we finance all of these costs without subsidies, government grants, or tax benefits.
ASIST 11 is the current program version. Details and information can be found here.
The Suicide Intervention Handbook is primarily an introduction to suicide intervention. It is based on earlier versions of ASIST. eBook and Audio CD versions of this resource are still available through LivingWorks. For details and to place an order, click here.
We are pleased to note that the ASIST workshop is a strong match for the clinical workforce preparedness training guidelines developed by the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, meeting or exceeding virtually all of the recommendations within the intervention scope. To help illustrate this alignment, we have prepared a downloadable document outlining ASIST’s alignment with the guidelines.
Those who are providing ASIST within their organizations are already doing their part to support clinical workforce preparedness in accordance with these guidelines. The downloadable document can be useful in demonstrating alignment with these guidelines for reports, funding applications, and other uses.
Founded in 2010, the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention is a public/private partnership that supports, develops, and advocates for the United States national suicide prevention strategy. Published in 2012, the updated edition of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention recognizes the importance of a broad clinical workforce that is well-prepared to assess and intervene when necessary. The Action Alliance’s Clinical Workforce Preparedness Task Force developed these guidelines as a core set of minimum requirements for the development, adoption, and dissemination of training efforts to support this preparedness. These guidelines are detailed in the 2014 document Suicide Prevention and the Clinical Workforce.