The Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) - organized by the Community Health Improvement Partners in collaboration with representatives from REACH-reaching diversity, Cal State University San Marcos, Mental Health America and OptumHealth Access and Crisis Line - was facilitated to a group of Native Americans residing in San Diego East County
Taboos and stigma about suicide coexist with the increasing numbers of completed suicides and attempted suicides among Native Americans. In addition to giving the tools for first-aid assistance to people at risk of suicide, the training also provided a unique opportunity to address the cultural barriers that prevent open communication on need for assistance by those people at risk, regardless of their age, gender and socioeconomic status.
"I feel very privileged to have been a part of a team of four trainers selected to empower this group of individuals in becoming helpers in their community. It is a shame that people who look at death as a solution cannot be helped early on, especially when we know that, if given the choice of life over death, most of them would choose to live", stated Miss Balistreri.
Congratulations to everyone who participated in this wonderful effort!