Livingworks Education Inc.

Livingworks Education Inc.

September 22, 2009 11:39 ET

US Army Surges Against Suicides

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Sept. 22, 2009) - The US Army is surging on another battlefront - in its efforts to combat the incidence of suicidal behavior. In an Army-wide message released on September 15, 2009, the Army mandates the use of both their internally created program "ACE" (Ask Care Escort), and ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) an intensive two-day workshop in suicide intervention developed by LivingWorks Education.

By identifying and targeting specific Army populations with an appropriate level of suicide awareness and intervention training, the Army expects to equip its soldiers, civilian employees and family members to be willing, ready, and able to save lives. For this, the Army has turned to the experts, both internally and internationally.

ACE was created by the US Army exclusively for the Army by the US Army Center of Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine (USACHPPM). It serves to provide peer-to-peer training in recognizing suicidal warning and danger signs, and what immediate action steps to take (Ask, Care and Escort) if an individual suspects someone is having thoughts of suicide.

ASIST is an internationally recognized workshop that was founded in Calgary, Canada back in the early 1980's. It was first introduced in the US Army during Operation DESERT SHIELD/STORM by V CORPS in Germany. In 2001, the Army introduced ASIST service-wide. In the past year, the Army has increased its use of ASIST, expanding those trained to beyond just "gatekeepers" (those who are most likely to come in contact with a soldier at risk for suicide) to others to include all ranks and specialties. This increase is partly because of an Army directed survey of ASIST participants earlier this year that indicated over 90% of those who completed ASIST reported more confidence to help a person at risk for suicide, compared to 48% prior to ASIST.

Jerry Swanner, Director of US Operations for LivingWorks Education Inc. says that ASIST teaches a complete model that provides a framework for caregivers of all walks of life to intervene with someone at risk of suicide and to help develop a plan to keep them safe. ASIST is the same suicide prevention-training program used by the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Crisis Centers, which includes the VA Suicide Prevention Hotline.

At present, there are over 550 ASIST Trainers throughout the Army, including the US Army Reserves and the Army National Guard.

Through the use of these two training programs (ACE & ASIST), the Army Leadership is not only sending out a message, but a clear signal that they truly care and have trust in its soldiers, civilian employees and family members and are willing to help and support them with this ongoing mission to win this important war over suicide.

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