I want to know what training that you have received, as part of your University and/or College education in regards to suicide prevention. What part of your curriculum included suicide prevention?

Social Workers, were you trained in suicide prevention? Nurses, what courses that you took included suicide prevention? Doctors, tell us about your training in suicide prevention. Journalists, you have many strict corporate policies on how suicide is reported, what training on suicide did you receive in Journalism School? Paramedics, Police Officers and Firefighters, you respond to suicide calls as part of your job, how have you been trained to help those at risk of suicide or those who have just experienced the greatest trauma of their lives by losing a loved one to suicide? Teachers, you spend hours a day with our youth, how have you been trained in suicide prevention? Principals, you make policy on how suicide is talked about in your school, how have you been trained in suicide? Politicians, in Canada (federally) you are currently faced with debating Bill C300, An Act respecting a Framework for a National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. In Law School of Political Science, did you receive any training in suicide and suicide prevention?

I also want to hear from; coaches, business leaders, community leaders, human resource professionals, health and safety representatives, labour leaders, etc.

I believe strongly that this is a critical missing link to suicide prevention. How do we even begin to talk about suicide if it remains shrouded in stigma and myth.

Please forward this poll to all of your colleagues, friends and family.

Thank you.


16 thoughts on “POLL. What training do you have in suicide prevention?

  1. I am a Registered Social Service Worker (RSSW), holding a 2-year diploma in Social Service Work. I received 2 hours of suicide risk assessment training in the CPR Model (a modified version is used by ASIST) in school; I chose to do one of my two practicums at a crisis line and there I had the opportunity to take the 3-hour safeTALK, the 16 hour ASIST and receive additional training in the DCIB Suicide Risk Assessment tool.

    I now work for the Distress Centre and suicide risk assessment and intervention is a huge passion of mine. Most Social Service Workers and Social Workers are now trained in Crisis Intervention but only a small segment of their training focuses specifically on suicide, and if they don’t practice those skills they quickly degrade.

    I’m completing a degree in Human Services through Athabasca and while I took an amazing Risk Assessment and Threat Management course focusing on violence risk, there are no courses that provide training in suicide risk. I can apply a Biopsychosocial Model of Violence Risk or score an actuarial tool like the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG) but my classmates can’t conduct a suicide risk assessment or use a simple structured professional judgement tool like DCIB.

  2. I’m an occupational therapy student, and we’re trained on suicide/self harm risk identification and management as a part of our mental health course. We received multiple resources, and suicide is often woven into our case studies. In our physical medicine courses we also discuss the impact of these conditions on mental health (including anxiety, eating disorders, depression, etc) across the lifespan. I’m incredibly grateful for our comprehensive, holistic focus.

  3. I am a social worker who volunteers in a variety of mental health settings but suicide prevention training has never been an option. I know this is needed but I don’t know where to find it or due to being underemployed I am unable to afford this training or other important training’s such as non violent crisis intervention. I want suicide prevention training because I attempted suicide as a teenager and one of my peer support participants did attempt suicide and wanted to speak with me while he was in the hospital and aside from listening I had no idea what to do.

    When I was in school for social work we never spoke of mental health so suicide never came up. We are then expected to go into the world and potentially work with the mental health population when we really have no idea what we’re doing! This is a big problem!

  4. As a registered nurse for 37 years I had absolutely no training in suicide awareness or prevention.Our mental health training focused on communication skills and the nursing process and care plans. The only tool we were taught to use was the phrase ” why do you feel that way? ” in training we were 18 or 19 years old, too young to offer much help to those in crisis.

  5. I just completed my BSW at Ryerson University in Toronto. Not an ounce of the suicide prevention and intervention knowledge I have today was gained from my formal university education. In fact, all of my formal suicide prevention/intervention training came from opportunities I sought out independently and paid for out of my own pocket. My social work education tended to skirt the issues. We gained alot of knowledge about social justice, advocacy and oppression of marginalized populations, but never ever did suicide enter a lecture hall or class discussion unless I brought the topic there myself. I have adressed this theme repeatedly with the faculty at Ryerson and continue to push for the development of a course that includes a critical approach to mental health and suicide prevention.

  6. My university studies were in health promotion. We had a five minute lecture in an intro course, on what to do if someone mentioned suicide, which just ‘happened’. It was not something the prof had planned to teach. Although I took a course specifically on mental health promotion a few years later, the topic of suicide never came up again. It’s interesting though that those five minutes early on sparked an interest in suicide prevention in me. One that lead to me taking ASIST – and ultimately making my life’s work suicide prevention. I believe that just as the health promotion students are required to have first aid training to graduate they should also need to take safeTALK or ASIST!

  7. Child and Youth Worker. We had a crisis prevention course in 3rd year but it did not dedicate a lot of time to suicide. I think this has since changed. I did take a suicide prevention program dealing with prevention in group homes. Could show you the curriculum if you like

  8. I was PSW for many years and worked in clients homes. We were taught to observe any odd behavior….and use our own judgement to figure was bothering the client.

    Also they way they talked…what they saying…and call it in immediately and report.

    We never had any formal training at all on this subject.

  9. I have been nursing (LPN) for 28 years. I did not receive any suicide prevention in training. Last year my workplace provided the Mental health First Aid for Public Health employees.

  10. I have no training at all. Though having gone through the whole dealing with suicidal thoughts and actions thing so many times, I am somewhat better equipped to deal with it than the average person on the street. Mind you, my field of study really hasn’t had to do with dealing with people who might be suicidal any more than dealing with the general public. I’m not really in a healing profession being a web developer. Well not a traditional one in any case.

  11. On February 11, 2012, I received my first “official training” in suicide prevention through the SafeTALK program. It was fabulous! I graduated from Nipissing Teachers’ College in 1980, and am now so delighted to be able to know more about what to do, should a student or colleague I’m working with need a listening ear or more proactive follow-up in a situation. It’s my opinion that everyone EVERYONE would benefit from SafeTALK training—it’s a proactive step towards reducing the incidence of suicide on our planet. Hats off to Richard Ramsey and the Living Works team for their commitment to this initiative in suicide prevention training!

  12. I was trained through a series of workshops through NS Mental Health, Mount Hope site, whilst working for the Anglican Church of Canada as Parish Counselor. However, I received NO training through my university certification, which qualified me to counsel individuals/families in crisis.

  13. I was trained as a Paramedic and I have been a Professional Firefighter for almost 20 years. I’ve had no training in suicide and/or suicide prevention as part of my professional training.

    • I work as a volunteer to help bring about suicide awareness. I have the ASSIST training through CMHA. I have training through the Distress Centre on Active Listening Skills and 24 hour crisis help phone lines. I am also a peer facilitator for survivor of suicide support groups.

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