All island evaluation of Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST): Summary report
An all-island action plan on suicide prevention was developed in 2007 in conjunction with the DHSSPS in Northern Ireland and the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) in the Republic. The plan contains a rolling programme of actions designed to take forward issues of mutual interest.
One of the key issues in the action plan is acknowledgement of the need for greater cooperation in relation to the development and evaluation of suicide prevention-related training programmes across the island. This is because the strategies in each jurisdiction highlight that there is limited evidence available in relation to interventions that are effective in reducing the risk of self-harm and suicide, although the education and training of community gatekeepers has shown promising results.
Given the already widespread roll-out of a suicide intervention programme, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), across the island, it was considered important that this work was evaluated regionally as a matter of priority.
ASIST is a two day course designed for both professionals and the general public. The aim of the ASIST workshop is to help caregivers provide emergency first aid to people at risk of suicidal behaviour. During the two day workshop, participants examine their attitudes to suicide, learn how to recognise and review the risk of suicide, and develop new and/or reinforce existing intervention skills. ASIST also aims to develop a cooperative network among participants, since caregivers often have to work together to prevent suicide.
The PHA designed and implemented an evaluation framework on behalf of the DHSSPS and NOSP. The evaluation aims to assess the implementation of the ASIST training programme across the island in order to make recommendations for its future delivery. It considers the efficacy of the ASIST programme, the effectiveness of its management and coordination, and value for money.