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Pennsylvania Adult/Older Adult Suicide Prevention Coalition

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People trained in suicide prevention learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to offer hope and help someone, often saving their life. The Coalition provides suicide prevention training/presentations for a variety of audiences including educational institutions, companies, and community organizations.

The Need for Education and Prevention

Studies indicate that many professionals are not properly trained in assessing, treating, and managing suicidal people, nor do they know how to refer suicidal people to proper treatment[1]. Goals Four and Six of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention addresses the need to implement suicide prevention programs to reduce the numbers of suicide and the need to implement training for the recognition of at-risk behavior and the delivery of effective treatment. The Coalition is dedicated to providing gatekeepers and professionals with the education necessary to save lives.

1. Bongar, Lomax, & Harmatz, 1992; Ellis and Dickey, 1998; Ellis, Dickey, & Jones, 1998; Kleespies 1998.


To schedule a training, presentation, or to obtain more information, click here and choose "Training" in the drop down menu.

QPR Gatekeeper Training
Three simple steps that can save a life.

* QPR is the Coalition's most popular training *

"Gatekeeper" is someone in the position to recognize a crisis and the warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide. Gatekeepers include parents, friends, neighbors, teachers, ministers, doctors, nurses, office supervisors, squad leaders, foremen, police officers, advisors, caseworkers, fire fighters and many others who are strategically positioned to recognize and refer someone at risk of suicide.


QPR Gatekeeper Trainings

Trainings can be learned in as little as an hour. The training can also be expanded to include other topics such as self-harm, depression, and can be tailored for specific populations or professions.

Over 41,000 people die each year by suicide and it is estimated that over 500,000 attempt suicide. Most suicides are related to depression, other mood disorders or substance and alcohol abuse. Yet many people don't seek help. Each year, thousands of Americans become Gatekeepers and learn how to help save a life.

Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)

ASIST is similar to QPR, but this training program offers more in-depth intervention tactics. The aim of ASIST is to teach caregivers the necessary skills to provide emergency psychological first aid in situations involving suicidal behavior. The emphasis of the ASIST workshop is on suicide first aid, on helping a person stay safe and seek further help. The program is conducted over two days. Participants learn how to:

  • Recognize that persons at risk are affected by personal and societal attitudes about suicide
  • Identify factors that indicate and estimate the risk of suicide,
  • Estimate the degree of risk,
  • Discuss suicide with a person at risk in a direct manner,
  • Demonstrate the skills required to intervene with a person at risk of suicide,
  • List the resources, including themselves, available to a person at risk of suicide, and
  • Commit to helping coordinate social support resources to persons at risk of suicide.

ASIST Training, August 23 & 24, 2017, Giant Foods, 2300 Linglestown Road, Harrisburg, PA 17110


Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental illnesses, builds understanding of their impact, and overviews common supports. This 8-hour course uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to offer initial help in a mental health crisis and connect persons to the appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help care. The program also teaches the common risk factors and warning signs of specific types of illnesses, like anxiety, depression, substance use, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and schizophrenia. Mental Health First Aid is included on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP).

Mental Health First Aid teaches participants a five-step action plan, ALGEE, to support someone developing signs and symptoms of a mental illness or in an emotional crisis:

  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm
  • Listen nonjudgmentally
  • Give reassurance and information
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies

Like CPR, Mental Health First Aid prepares participants to interact with a person in crisis and connect the person with help. First Aiders do not take on the role of professionals — they do not diagnose or provide any counseling or therapy. Instead, the program offers concrete tools and answers key questions, like “what do I do?” and “where can someone find help?” Certified Mental Health First Aid instructors provide a list of community healthcare providers and national resources, support groups, and online tools.


Youth Mental Health First Aid

Youth Mental Health First Aid is an 8 hour public education program which introduces participants to the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents, builds understanding of the importance of early intervention, and teaches individuals how to help an adolescent in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge. Mental Health First Aid uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to assess a mental health crisis; select interventions and provide initial help; and connect young people to professional, peer, social, and self-help care.

The course teaches participants the risk factors and warning signs of a variety of mental health challenges common among adolescents, including anxiety, depression, psychosis, eating disorders, AD/HD, disruptive behavior disorders, and substance use disorder. Participants do not learn to diagnose, nor how to provide any therapy or counseling – rather, participants learn to support a youth developing signs and symptoms of a mental illness or in an emotional crisis by applying a core five-step action plan:

  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm
  • Listen nonjudgmentally
  • Give reassurance and information
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies

The Youth Mental Health First Aid USA curriculum is primarily focused on information participants can use to help adolescents and transition-age youth, ages 12-18.

The course is designed for adults who regularly interact with adolescents (teachers, school staff, coaches, youth group leaders, parents, etc.), but is being tested for appropriateness within older adolescent groups (16 and older) so as to encourage youth peer to peer interaction.


Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk: Core Competencies for Mental Health Professionals (AMSR)

PRC, in partnership with the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), developed a one-day competencies-based curriculum for mental health professionals on assessing suicide risk, planning treatment, and managing the ongoing care of the at-risk client. Components include:

  • Pre-workshop reading (about 20 pages)
  • 6.5 hours of face-to-face training, comprised of an engaging mixture of lecture and exercises
  • Training DVD in eight segments, highlighting competencies taught. Four of the segments are “live” demonstrations of a clinical interview between master clinician and researcher, David Jobes, Ph.D., and a professional actor.
  • Over 110 pages of Participant Manual with an extensive bibliography organized by subject.
  • Journaling spread through the day, allowing participants to reflect on their reactions to the course and to set goals for improving their practice and studying the topic further.
  • Q & A and discussion.
  • Awarding of CEUs (determined individually at each delivery site).

"Lunch and Learn" Seminars

Specifically for the workplace, these seminars are designed for employees, human resource personnel, and EAP providers these are a series of three seminars. The first seminar discusses the symptoms, risk factors, types of and treatment for depression. The second teaches participants about the prevalence of suicide, the risk factors, warning signs of it and how to help a suicidal person. The third in the series provides information on what to do after a suicide, in the workplace and on a personal level. They are an hour in length and include resources and other pertinent information.

Fee: $250 per seminar or all 3 three seminars for $600.


Strategic Planning for Suicide PreventionCore Competencies

Strategic Planning for Suicide PreventionCore Competencies was developed by the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) in partnership with the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC).

  • Participants will enhance their leadership and collaboration skills, and in line with The National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, be able to collect and present suicide-related data and information; implement suicide prevention programs in their communities; and determine the effectiveness of programs they implement. Participants also will increase their comfort and ability to communicate effectively about suicide and suicide prevention.

Additional Programs


The Suicide Prevention Resource Center(SPRC), has designed a summary of the different suicide prevention programs. Visit their website, www.sprc.org, to obtain these summaries.

AAS.jpgThe American Association of Suicidology (AAS) has created a list of recommended list as well as evaluation guidelines for school/teen suicide prevention videos. Click here to view this list.


We also collaborate with many of these programs by periodically hosting trainings for their programs. Please see our calendar of events to find out if one is being offered sometime in the future. We operate on a sliding fee scale for other nonprofit organizations.


To schedule a training, presentation, or to obtain more information, click here and choose "Training" in the drop down menu.

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