ISHCMC Hosts ASIST Workshop to Equip Educators and Professionals with Life-Saving Skills

The International School of Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC) recently welcomed, suicide prevention organization, LivingWorks, to hold Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). The two-day workshop, held in collaboration with ABC School International, is designed to help guide educators and professionals with how to intervene and prevent suicide. To date, over two million people around the world have participated in this award-winning program, and ISHCMC opened its doors to other school’s educators to come join and benefit from the essential training.

Speaking about the workshop, Kim Green, ISHCMC’s Head of School, shared,

“Our school is proud to host this incredibly important training and to be able to offer it to not only our staff but also other schools in the community. At ISHCMC, wellbeing, being incredibly important to a child’s development, is a core foundation of who we are, and as educators, it’s important that we equip ourselves with the necessary knowledge to provide a safe and supportive environment for our students.”

She went on to share

“The ASIST program is an excellent opportunity for educators and professionals obtain a much better understanding of suicide prevention and become equipped with the skills needed to save lives and promote mental health. We are proud to host this training and look forward to working with other schools in Vietnam to promote mental health and well-being.”

Ran by the organisation LivingWorks, a leading provider of suicide intervention and prevention training, ASIST is an evidence-based program that provides practical and effective training in this area of mental health. The sessions equip individuals with the necessary skills to recognize the signs of suicide, teach them how to intervene, provide support to individuals at risk, and connect those at risk with appropriate resources. Participants, who included both educators, counselors and other professionals in the educational industry took part in interactive activities, case studies, and specialized exercises to help participants apply what they have learnt to real-life situations.

ISHCMC was fortunate enough to welcome Lindy McGregor from the organization Living Works who helped lead the training session. Lindy has worked in the field of suicide prevention for over 30 years and is one of the most experienced suicide prevention skills trainers in the world. She shared, “Suicide is a significant public health challenge that impacts every community and every demographic in every country. But the statistics for deaths by suicide are just the tip of the iceberg. So many more people have suicide attempts & even larger numbers consider ending their own lives. Studies indicate that 5% of the general population consider suicide every year, but they also inform us that the proportion of young people who think about suicide is more than double that.

For schools, ASIST is essential as it equips educators with the tools to recognize and intervene in cases of suicide. In a school environment, educators are uniquely positioned to identify the warning signs of suicide and provide support to at-risk students. Through ASIST training, educators can learn how to approach and intervene in situations where a student may be experiencing suicidal ideation, making it a critical component in promoting mental health and well-being among young people.

LivingWorks believes that everyone has a role to play in addressing the issue of suicide and that anyone can develop the necessary skills to support choices leading to greater safety. Taking a community-based and collaborative approach is essential to planning and development.”

Speaking on the impact of the workshop itself and how it will benefit our teachers, professionals, students and wider community, Lindy went on to share.

School communities are large, busy places. If suicide prevention efforts are concentrated in a single area, such as the counselling centre, they won’t be able to reach everyone. LivingWorks training brings life-saving skills to other members of the school community, who are in key positions of trust & have regular contact with students. This enables a broad-based impact.

Following the workshop, Hana Adams, one of ISHCMC’s Designated Safeguarding Leads reflected, “Being able to attend the ASIST with members of the counseling team, grade level leaders and the safeguarding leads allows us as a school to approach suicide disclosures and interventions in a clear and systematic manner where stakeholders use similar language and perspectives”

Following the engaging, informative and practical ASIST workshops, participants left with a much better understanding and knowledge to recognize the signs of suicide and provide support to those at risk. Moving forward, ISHCMC looks to continue to provide such opportunities whereby educators, mental health professionals, and anyone working with young people can learn such life-saving skills and promote mental health and well-being.