Let’s face it – it’s super hard to talk openly about suicide. There’s many spaces in which the word is whispered in hushed tones, or not talked about at all. There has been many times in my own life to which I feared talking about the impact of suicide in my communities. But maybe that silence creates a barrier for someone to reach out and ask for the help they need. Maybe someone needs to be asked directly about suicide to experience the relief that their pain was noticed, that someone is ready to listen. Maybe we need to create spaces in which we can talk about suicide openly to allow for processes of healing and support for each other.

In 2018, BYTE will begin offering a half-day training called safeTALK that prepares community members ages 15+ to become suicide-alert helpers. What originally drew me to getting trained as a safeTALK facilitator was how this training can be used a tool to empower any community member, regardless of expertise/past training. safeTALK-trained helpers are provided with practical skills that help them recognize potential invitations for help. This training builds the skills and confidence necessary to take action by connecting someone with life-saving intervention resources.

We are hopeful, that these kinds of conversations will empower all of us in creating more suicide-safer communities.

For more information about safeTALK: https://www.livingworks.net/programs/safetalk/