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Staff at Hefner VA Medical Center learn about suicide prevention

The Salisbury VA is adding a new tool for the fight against veteran suicide this month. Today, a group of health care providers, social workers, peer support specialists and medical support assistants, who provide scheduling assistance and phone support, began the two-day Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, or ASIST for short.

“ASIST is much like CPR training, giving our staff the tools they need to perform immediate suicide intervention,” said Raphael D’Ausilio. D’Ausilio was researching how to strengthen Salisbury VAMC’s suicide prevention when he came across ASIST. “Our veterans deserve the best and this is the best program out there to rescue those who put their life on the line for our freedom.”

According to LivingWorks Education, the organization that provides the training, Salisbury VA is among the first VA Medical Centers in the country to receive this training.

“Providing timely and effective mental health care and improving veteran suicide rates remains a top priority for VA and for us locally,” said Salisbury VA Medical Center Director Kaye Green. “If this training saves even just one veteran, it was worth it.”

ASIST is the same program used to train operators of the VA Crisis Line, which was recently featured in the HBO documentary “Crisis Line: Veterans Press 1,” which won an Oscar in February.

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