By Sonia McDiarmid
It is often in times of hardship that people come together to accomplish positive things. That is the benefit of community – coming together to support one another. That is what community is all about.
The Crisis Centre of BC found that sense of community with Accent Inns – a BC-based hotel chain – when we were struggling to provide in-person training space for our suicide prevention training after pandemic safety protocols began in March.
Lu, director of community learning and engagement at the Crisis Centre of BC, helped organize and implement in-person workshops for over 500 adults in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training in 2019/2020. Even during the pandemic, the goal has always been to continue these programs. The challenge became how to safely train new attendees without a large enough space to do so.
When Accent Inns stepped up to donate space in their convention rooms it made what seemed to be impossible possible.
Applied Suicide Intervention Training, or ASIST, is a 2-day intensive program that provides suicide prevention and intervention skill training. It has educated people from diverse backgrounds. As Lu notes, “most attendees tend to be from the ‘helping careers’ where there is vulnerability in the job.I have had social workers, faith leaders, youth workers, immigrant and refugee workers, and health care workers to name a few take this life-saving suicide prevention course.”
With people worldwide living through COVID-19, support for mental health and suicide prevention is critical. The donation of space from Accent Inns to ensure this program could continue was a relief for the Crisis Centre team.
ASIST training is only offered in person. As Lu says, “due to the sensitive nature of this course, it is emotionally intensive. Being in a group, attendees get a more impactful educational experience than they would if the course was offered over an electronic device.” She continues, “having the emotional safety of being with others who care is important when being vulnerable, sharing, and talking about personal and work-related mental health challenges.”
Lu also believes this training will be a great support to so many due to the unpredictable and changing times we are all living in. It is because of the generosity of a unique partnership that we can offer this valuable in-person program.
Information about ASIST and other programming can be found online.
If you have any connections to help us continue offering in-person training, such as ASIST, please reach out.
If you or someone you know is struggling, especially with thoughts of suicide, we are here for you. Reach us at:
- Vancouver Coastal Regional Distress Line: 604-872-3311
- Anywhere in BC 1-800-SUICIDE: 1-800-784-2433
- Mental Health Support Line: 310-6789
- Online Chat Service for Youth: www.YouthInBC.com (Noon to 1am)
- Online Chat Service for Adults: www.CrisisCentreChat.ca (Noon to 1am)