LivingWorks Education, the world’s largest suicide prevention training company, has been honouring community-based development in suicide prevention programmes for over 30 years by offering suicide awareness and intervention programmes to help local people work together to create and sustain suicide-safer communities.
LivingWorks recognises that it is critically important for communities to establish, implement, and sustain their own suicide-safer action plans defined by their unique character and needs, while incorporating key elements of their national, regional and/or local strategies and/or the World Health Organization Public Health Action for the Prevention of Suicide—A Framework. Communities around the world have demonstrated leadership and commitment to tackle this critical community health issue. Many individuals, organisations, and communities are collaborating around activities to prevent suicide and ensure that those who are bereaved by suicide and have lived experience with suicide are an inclusive part of working together and have support that is both compassionate and informed. LivingWorks Education would like to recognise the commitment, innovations and accomplishments of these actions as aggregate and collaborative undertakings by a community to create, implement, and sustain a recognized suicide-safer community and offer our support and encouragement to communities that wish to do the same.
In acquiring an official “Suicide-Safer Community” designation, communities will be recognized for their efforts as leaders in formulating and implementing suicide prevention initiatives on a sustainable and ongoing basis over time. Those that seek and prepare for designation engage in an opportunity to identify their community strengths and opportunities for improvement in the area of suicide prevention.
Suicide-Safer Communities are passionate in their belief that suicide is preventable and that suicide prevention is a shared responsibility where every person from policy makers to individual community members has the potential to make a difference and save a life. It is a community that believes that everyone has a fundamental right to a life lived with dignity with the supports and resources accessible to ensure a future filled with hope and possibility.
The designation of “Suicide-Safer Community” is a prestigious honor awarded to a community where multi-sectoral entities, in agreement that suicide is a serious community health problem, are engaged with individuals, organizations and stakeholders collaboratively to strategize, create, implement, and sustain efforts around 10 pillars of action.
- Leadership/Steering Committee
- Community Needs Assessment and Action Plan
- Mental Health and Wellness Promotion
- Suicide Prevention Awareness
- Suicide Intervention
- Clinical and Support Services
- Suicide Bereavement
- Evaluation and Dissemination
- Capacity Building and Sustainability
In order for a community to be designated a Suicide-Safer Community it must submit thorough documentation of all 10 pillars. The Suicide-Safer Community Initiative Review Committee is comprised of leaders from the national and/or geographical area and LivingWorks Education.
The designation is good for 5 years, after which time an application for renewal providing updates on continued progress toward each of the 10 pillars can be submitted.
Why become a Suicide-Safer Community?
Suicide-safer communities acknowledge their responsibility to ensure that in times of suicide/emotional distress its citizens have access to life-affirming supports and resources to be safe from suicide and turn toward living. Building a suicide-safer community includes developing action plans around the 10 Suicide-Safer Community Pillars incorporating suicide awareness, prevention, intervention, post-intervention, and postvention. In addition, suicide-safer communities build capacity to address these 10 pillars in a collaborative, thoughtful, practical, and sustainable way that includes helping practitioners, researchers, community-based services, the bereaved and those with lived experience. In planning a Suicide-Safer Community, people recognize that safety from suicide rests on our ability to ask and talk about suicide openly, that conversations about suicide are encouraged and will be met with compassionate, non-judgmental and informed responses.
Suicide-Safer Community Designation is a public affirmation of, and testament to include community-wide safety from suicide as a priority contribution in creating a safer, healthier and hope-filled life for its citizens.
What are we doing about it?
We are collaborating with other suicide prevention initiatives across the globe from Canada and the UK to Australia. We work together to deliver the gatekeeper training to individuals and organisations which is the essential pillar to building suicide safer communities. Through our interactions with these organisations we strengthen and build our suicide safer communities throughout the world.
Is your organisation suicide-safer?
Refer to the Pillars for Building a Suicide Safer Community – do you feel these provisions are in place? A suicide safer workplace is an excellent example of a small community that is equipped to save lives through suicide prevention and intervention.
Are you suicide-safer?
Suicide prevention starts with a question – are you ready to ask it? Breaking the silence and stigma around suicide can be scary, but also very powerful. Many of us believe notions such as talking about suicide may put ‘ideas’ into the person’s head or perhaps that helping someone at risk is best left to others. Are these concerns which you share?
What can you do?
Become a gatekeeper
Whether it’s in suicide intervention skills training or suicide awareness, you can be an integral part of your community’s suicide safety plan by attending suicide intervention training
Find out which provisions your community has in place. Ask your employer how they tackle the issue of suicide. Talk about suicide – let people know that a community which talks openly about suicide is one step close to a suicide safer community.