Suicide awareness course launched at AIT

“The problem of suicide in our community is becoming even more critical during the recession and the number of fatalities is on the increase†– that was the sober message delivered by the Athlone and Roscommon Lions clubs as they launched a new suicide awareness and prevention initiative at Athlone Institute of Technology this week. “Anecdotal evidence would suggest that more than forty people lost their lives through suicide in December alone,†the Vice District Governor of the Lions Clubs of Ireland Ciaran Mullooly said, at the launch of the ASIST training course at AIT. “It is critical that those of us who can help in the community stand up and try and assist those who are at risk.†Athlone Lions Club President Michael McDonnell said the club was pleased to team up with colleagues in Roscommon to launch the initiative. He said: “We support the vulnerable and those in need and the ASIST course that is taking place in AIT in early February will provide valuable assistance to those at risk.†ASIST is Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training - a two-day workshop designed to teach the skills to competently and confidently intervene with a youth at risk of suicide. The curriculum is divided into four learning modules: attitudes, knowledge, intervention and resources. Skills and principles are illustrated with case studies presented in videos and live dramatisations, role-play simulations, discussions and in the Suicide Intervention Handbook. By the end of the workshop, participants will be better able to reduce attitudinal barriers which hinder the ability to be direct and comfortable with suicidal situations. They will also be trained to help identify indicators when somebody is in difficulty, to assess suicidal risk and to intervene with a youth at risk of suicide and try to save a life. The Lions Clubs are publicly inviting all those who work with, or are in daily contact with, teenagers and those at risk – especially third level students, taxi drivers, sports coaches, video shop staff members, bar, hotel, disco and off-licence staff to take an active part in the ASIST training programme. You can get more information from Roscommon Lions Club ASIST Project Office, The Quad Youth Centre, Circular Road, Roscommon or by e-mailing your name and number to: The next course will take place at AIT on Friday, February 10 and Saturday, February 11.