safeTALK: suicide alertness for everyone

safeTALK is a half-day training in suicide alertness. It helps participants recognize a person with thoughts of suicide and connect them with resources who can help them in choosing to live. Participants don’t need any formal preparation to attend the training—anyone age 15 or older who wants to make a difference can learn the safeTALK steps.

FOCUS: Suicide alertness training for the community
DURATION: 3 hours - 4 hours (half a day)
LANGUAGES: English and French

PARTICIPANTS: Anyone 15 or older
TRAINERS: One trainer and one community resource person per 15–30 participants


How safeTALK works

Most people with thoughts of suicide don’t want to die—instead, they are looking for a way to work through the pain in their lives. Through their words and actions, they usually invite others to help them in making a choice for life. safeTALK teaches participants to recognize these invitations, engage with the person with thoughts of suicide, and connect them with resources to help them be safer from suicide. These resources could include health care professionals, fire responders, or crisis line workers—among many others who have suicide intervention training.


Goals and objectives

safeTALK helps participants become alert to suicide. Suicide-alert people are better prepared to connect persons with thoughts of suicide with life-affirming help. Over the course of their training, safeTALK participants will learn to:

  • Notice and respond to situations where suicide thoughts may be present,
  • Recognize that invitation's for help are often overlooked,
  • Move beyond the common tendency to miss, dismiss, and avoid suicide,
  • Apply the TALK steps: Tell, Ask, Listen, KeepSafe, and
  • Know community resources and how to connect someone with thoughts of suicide to them for further suicide-safer help.


Training process

safeTALK features both presentations and interactive elements. Trainers will facilitate participants’ involvement  through:

  • Trainer presentations
  • Diverse selection of audiovisuals
  • Interactive discussion and questions
  • TALK steps practice
  • TALK wallet card
  • “You can TALK to Me” stickers
  • Downloadable TALK App


Who should take safeTALK?

safeTALK is designed for anyone age 15 or older, including many in more formal helping roles. The steps learned in safeTALK have helped participants from all walks of life be alert to situations where suicide thoughts may be present.


Who provides safeTALK?

safeTALK is a training developed by LivingWorks education, a leading world provider of suicide intervention training. Each safeTALK is facilitated by a trainer who has completed the two-day safeTALK Training for Trainers (T4T) course. Trainers use internationally standardized learning materials, including a diverse selection of paired alert and non-alert vignettes.

A listing of registered trainers can be found at www.livingworks.net under Find a Trainer. In order to maintain registered status, trainers must deliver the workshop at least three times a year and submit quality control reports to LivingWorks.


safeTALK and ASIST

safeTALK is designed to complement ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), LivingWorks’ two-day suicide intervention skills workshop. safeTALK is consistent with LivingWorks’ view that the training needs of a suicide-safer community require a comprehensive approach. Both safeTALK and ASIST participants have an important role to play in helping to achieve this goal.

safeTALK training focuses on using the TALK steps—Tell, Ask, Listen, KeepSafe—to engage persons with thoughts of suicide and help to connect them with life-affirming resources, while using ASIST skills helps these resources provide safety from suicide for now. In effect, safeTALK and ASIST-trained helpers work together with individuals to help them keep safe from suicide.

ASIST’s intervention model involves establishing a collaborative relationship to work through suicide to  a place of safety. Many training participants include safeTALK and ASIST in their suicide prevention toolkit.