nursing school

Suicide Prevention: Rundown of SafeTALK

The goal of SafeTALK, in a nutshell, is to help teach people how to be suicide alert. In other words, be able to recognize the signs of potential suicide, how to approach the topic with the person and how to send them in a helpful direction.

I won’t share everything little thing with you (since I’ll probably get in trouble! haha) but I will share with you the main lesson.

The mnemonic TALK stands for this:

Tell: social cues that are indicative of suicidal behaviour, such as being moody, not like themselves, seeming hopeless, expressing depression, being isolated, withdrawn, abusing alcohol/drugs, saying things like “I have been feeling really hopeless, but I’ve finally found a solution to end my misery.” (super obvious example, but you get the point!)

Ask: Gathering all the clues the person has given you, formulating it into a statement and then asking if they are contemplating suicide. Ex. “I’ve noticed you’ve been really moody, you’ve been isolating yourself and have been talking about how hopeless you feel no matter what you try. I was just wondering if maybe you’ve considered suicide?” (Or any variation of that statement. Sometimes being direct in asking is better than dancing aroung the subject)

Listen: “Let’s TALK about this, it’s really important. I want to help you.” This involved leading the person to professional help if they admit they are suicidal, or giving them the resources to seek help even if they say they feel better after talking about it.

Keep Safe: Involving extra help, such as hotlines, going to the emerge, involving a mobile crisis team (1 psychiatric nurse + 1 police), or bringing them to a guidance counselor.

It’s really important to never Miss, Dismiss or Avoid suicidal cues. Pay attention and you could save somebodies life. Most suicidal persons want to talk to someone about it.

I’m so glad that I attended this workshop! I definitely learned how to approach the taboo-ness of suicide talk. We were handed an excellent resource for lines of help as well, which I’ll share a photo of below. (Primarily for Ontario, Canada! Sorry guys!)


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