Glaswegians could soon be learning how to recognise the signs of a suicidal person and help prevent deaths, thanks to a pilot community training project.
The ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills)training sessions will seeteachers, community centre managers and others taught by a team of specially trained staff - from NHS Greater Glasgow, Glasgow City Council and voluntary organisations - about how to spot the warnings signs and intervene to help prevent suicide.
Jane Beresford, Senior Health Promotion Officer for Mental Health, explained that the main aim of the pilot training courses – which will soon be carried out in community venues across Greater Glasgow – is to reduce the annual number of suicides in the city, which last year stood at 122.
Jane said: "The team will do this by piloting the suicide prevention training sessions with groups involving everyone from community centre managers and teachers to interested members of the public."
Jane went on to explain that, in line with Choose Life (the national strategy to tackle the big issue of suicide in Scotland), NHS Greater Glasgow, Glasgow City Council and voluntary groups put forward key members of staff for the specialist training to teach people in Greater Glasgow about suicide.
"The vital ASIST training course basically trained our staff to be trainers. As a result, the team hopes the community events will educate people about suicide, tell them about the warning signs and what they should do when they suspect someone is contemplating suicide."
Lee Knifton, an NHS Greater Glasgow Health Promotion Officer who took part in the ASIST training, added: "It was a very worthwhile course for us to undertake as it showed us how to get people interested in the subject and make them see how they themselves can tackle suicide in Glasgow.
"The plan now is for us to arrange courses at public venues, which will see us speak to groups of 24 people about everything from the early signs of self-harm, to the action to take if someone is attempting suicide."
·Choose Life is an ongoing programme led by the Scottish Executive that was launched in November 2002. It has been working nationally and locally to raise the profile of and to support further action in mental health improvement. One of the four key aims of this programme during 2003-06 is to prevent suicide in Scotland.
·ASIST – the name of the training that staff undertook in order to perform the pilot community events – will also be the name that the community sessions come under.