safeTALK half-day training
Most people with thoughts of suicide don’t truly want to die, but are struggling with the pain in their lives.
safeTALK is a half-day alertness training that prepares anyone over the age of 15, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper. Most people with thoughts of suicide don’t truly want to die, but are struggling with the pain in their lives. Through their words and actions, they invite help to stay alive. safeTALK-trained helpers can recognize these invitations and take action by connecting them with life-saving intervention resources, such as caregivers trained in ASIST.
Since its development in 2006, safeTALK has been used in over 20 countries around the world, and more than 200 selectable video vignettes have been produced to tailor the program’s audio-visual component for diverse audiences. safeTALK-trained helpers are an important part of suicide-safer communities, working alongside intervention resources to identify and avert suicide risks.
Learning goals and objectives
Over the course of their training, safeTALK participants will learn to:
- Notice and respond to situations where suicide thoughts might be present
- Recognize 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, and KeepSafe
- Know community resources and how to connect someone with thoughts of suicide to them for further help
- Presentations and guidance from a LivingWorks registered trainer
- Access to support from a local community resource person
- Powerful audiovisual learning aids
- The simple yet effective TALK steps: Tell, Ask, Listen, and KeepSafe
- Hands-on skills practice and development
safeTALK helps expand the reach of suicide intervention skills in communities around the world. Watch this video from the Ontario Hockey Association, one of the many organizations that have implemented safeTALK, or click the links below to participate in or support this life-saving program.
safeTALK offers valuable skills to everyone 15 and older and requires no formal training or prior experience in suicide prevention. Because it only takes half a day to learn, safeTALK is an excellent tool for people who want to become alert to the dangers of suicide in a convenient timeframe. Although formal caregivers such as social workers and counselors employ safeTALK skills, the program is also used by students, teachers, community volunteers, first responders, military personnel, police, public and private employees, and professional athletes—among many others. By providing a universal model with adaptable components, safeTALK offers useful skills to every audience.
safeTALK trainings are provided by registered LivingWorks trainers. In order to facilitate the training, trainers must attend a safeTALK Training for Trainers (T4T) and extensively study the program. They must also participate in a rigorous quality control process and maintain their skills by presenting safeTALK trainings on a regular basis.
In addition to the trainer, each safeTALK training includes a community resource person. The community resource person is on hand to recommend local suicide prevention connections that can assist someone at risk. Referring someone to these connections is an important part of the safeTALK model. In addition, the community resource person can provide assistance and support if any participants are struggling with the subject of suicide in the training.
safeTALK is a powerful experience. You can expect to feel challenged, empowered, and hopeful. Your safeTALK trainer will demonstrate the importance of suicide alertness and help you identify ways people invite help when they’re having thoughts of suicide. safeTALK’s steps provide a simple yet effective method to engage with people who are having thoughts of suicide and connect them with resources that can carry out a full-scale intervention. At the end of the training, you’ll have a chance to practice these skills firsthand. All in all, you can expect to leave safeTALK with practical knowledge of how to identify someone having thoughts of suicide and link them to life-saving resources.
Many organizations and licensure boards will provide CEU (Continuing Education Units) credits for attending safeTALK. You can read more about receiving CEU credits for LivingWorks programs or download templates for safeTALK CEU applications on the Continuing Education Resources page.
Although safeTALK and ASIST are separate programs, they are designed to complement each other. The two-day ASIST workshop provides skills to intervene with someone who is having thoughts of suicide, working with them to help them feel less overwhelmed and suicidal. Perhaps most importantly, the ASIST model also involves creating a safety plan to avoid the danger of suicide in the future.
It would not be possible to learn and practice all of the ASIST skills in safeTALK’s half-day timeframe, although many who attend safeTALK later decide to take ASIST. What safeTALK does do is help participants identify people who are having thoughts of suicide, confidently ask them about the topic of suicide, and connect them with resources that can help them stay safe. This might be a professional caregiver or someone trained in ASIST—often, they’re one and the same! By providing a connection to intervention resources, safeTALK offers an important avenue to assistance when people need it most.
Many communities and organizations use both safeTALK and ASIST. By working in concert, people with safeTALK and ASIST training create a larger, more effective network of suicide intervention resources. The result is that those having thoughts of suicide are more likely to have their invitations for help recognized—and more likely to get the help they need in staying safe.
The cost of attending a safeTALK training varies by location for a number of reasons. In some instances, community organizations may subsidize workshop costs. You will be able to see these costs when you find a local training.
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.