CALGARY, Sept. 9, 2013 /CNW/ - LivingWorks Education, an international company dedicated to suicide intervention training, has announced the launch of its first-ever online awareness program. Called esuicideTALK, the program aims to increase awareness about suicide risks and encourage learners to become involved with suicide prevention activities. The launch coincides with World Suicide Prevention Day, a global awareness day celebrated on September 10 each year.
"For many years, suicide awareness and prevention training was almost exclusively face-to-face," explained Richard Ramsay, President of LivingWorks. "Now more and more people are going online for answers. They want to understand the issues surrounding suicide, and whether it's safe to talk openly and honestly about it. It made sense for us to develop a tool that would address those questions," he said. Although esuicideTALK is LivingWorks' first online program, the company is a thirty-year veteran in the field of suicide intervention training with thousands of workshops delivered worldwide.
"Suicide is preventable," noted Ramsay, a former social work professor whose contributions to the suicide prevention field have been recognized by the United Nations. "Most people with suicidal thoughts are struggling with the uncertainty of living, but don't truly want to die—and so they invite help to stay alive." Learning to recognize and act on these invitations for help is a core part of LivingWorks programs, including esuicideTALK. "Awareness is the first step toward suicide prevention," Ramsay explained. "When they understand that anyone can experience suicidal thoughts, people are better prepared to help when they encounter someone at risk."
Over a million people die by suicide each year around the world, and global suicide rates have risen nearly 60% since 1970. Suicide is also a leading cause of death among young people in many countries. LivingWorks is part of a worldwide group of organizations working to stem this tide by encouraging the development of "suicide-safer communities"—places where people in distress can access the help they need. A 2010 review confirmed that the company's programs help participants feel more ready and willing to intervene in cases of suicide risk.
"Although awareness is the main goal of esuicideTALK, there's much more to it than that," said Ramsay. "There's the value of breaking down the stigma that often causes people to suffer in silence. And perhaps most importantly, there's the idea that everyone has a part to play in preserving and promoting life. We want people to come away from this program with a newfound appreciation for how they can make a difference."
esuicideTALK, accessible at www.esuicidetalk.net, replicates a workshop environment and is designed for English speakers aged 15 and up. LivingWorks reinvests revenue from the program in training and awareness initiatives around the world. The company's website, which includes information and resources for suicide prevention, is located at www.livingworks.net.
SOURCE: LivingWorks Education
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