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New research from Public Health Wales shows that training given by Mind Cymru's Positive Choices project is making a real difference to people's willingness to discuss and tackle suicide and self harm.
Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) teaches everyone how to spot the signals that someone is thinking about suicide and gives them the skills to talk about the issue. It's vitally important that anyone having thoughts of suicide is able to get help and support as soon as possible. This new research shows that ASIST training makes it more likely that people will find the help they need.
After completing the ASIST course:
· 97% of people felt more prepared to help a person at risk of suicide
· Follow up studies showed 73% of people had already used the training to help someone
People who did the training said that they would be more confident in both spotting the signs that someone was thinking about suicide and following them up. Staff who work directly with members of the public can play a key role in recognising these early signs but less than 70% of those surveyed had any previous suicide prevention training.
One participant commented: "Having the confidence to talk to the young people I work with about their suicidal thoughts has really helped. Before I undertook the training it was something I was uncomfortable with because I was not sure how to take the next step."
Sian Price from Public Health Wales commented: "Public Health Wales is pleased to be working with Mind Cymru on the Positive Choices project and to have led the evaluation of ASIST within Wales. This new report proves that ASIST is working well in Wales and making a real difference to people's willingness to help someone in distress."
Phillip Chick, Mental Health Development Lead for Wales at the National Leadership and innovation Agency for Healthcare said: "The favourable evaluation of ASIST, as part of the Positive Choices programme is hugely encouraging. ASIST forms a significant part of Welsh Government's suicide and self harm prevention action plan "Talk To Me".
"The evaluation demonstrates that ASIST does help people to feel more confident in identifying and helping people at risk of suicide and that they are more likely to intervene. This change is central to the intent of Talk To Me and demonstrates that we are making progress here in Wales. I applaud those working within Positive Choices for their diligence and determination."
Alan Briscoe, Mind Cymru's Positive Choices Project Manager, said: "A lot of people are worried about raising the issue of suicide with anyone they think might be at risk. Today's report proves that ASIST training gives people the confidence and practical skills they need in these situations. We hope it will encourage more people to train so that we can get these skills out into communities and workplaces."
"Suicide really is everybody's business because so many people have been affected in some way."