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Training By Location

LivingWorks headed to NASPA Annual Conference: Suicide prevention in education communities.  

LivingWorks headed to NASPA Annual Conference: Suicide prevention in education communities.  

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The 2024 NASPA Annual Conference begins this weekend, taking place from March 9-13 in Seattle. LivingWorks trains school communities across the globe in suicide first aid to help keep students safe, which is especially important as youth face higher rates of suicide than the general population. 

Grant Merrell, LivingWorks’ Suicide Prevention Manager of the Northeast USA region, will be exhibiting on behalf of LivingWorks at the conference. He says higher education is a major focus for LivingWorks, and NASPA will provide the opportunity to connect with multiple avenues surrounding student development and higher education. 

“Suicide is a major topic when it comes to higher education, and we can help alleviate some of the stress and fear that revolves around talking about and dealing with suicide in the higher education setting,” says Merrell. “We want to see a world that is safer from suicide and a great place to start is in higher education and helping students. The fact that we are the most evidence-based and most researched suicide prevention offering across the globe highlights the efficacy of what we offer, and how we can help.” 

Merrell believes that suicide prevention training and the creation of a Network of Safety could be perfectly implemented within any higher education institution. LivingWorks has collaborated with many institutions in various ways, including Georgetown, University of Michigan, Marshall University and the University of Iowa. Working with education communities is important, because students will inevitably go on to work in a variety of other sectors and lines of work.  

“The reality is that education impacts every part of our society. Working with businesses in construction, counseling and government, many of those individuals have come through some form of higher education system at some point,” says Merrell. “As we are working with higher education institutions, we’re impacting individuals who will go into every field. It’s a great way of feeding our knowledge and training into the rest of industry.”   

LivingWorks has collaborated with education communities around the world. This includes collaborating with the California Department of Education to provide free state-wide suicide prevention skills training through our online program, LivingWorks Start, and with the New South Wales Government in Australia to provide LivingWorks Start, safeTALK and ASIST to communities throughout the state.  

Sam Smith, LivingWorks’ Suicide Prevention Manager of the Central USA region, and Mandy Armstrong, LivingWorks’ Suicide Prevention Manager of the Western USA region, were at the National School Counseling Leadership Conference last month on behalf of LivingWorks.  

Mandy Armstrong and Sam Smith at the 2024 National School Counseling Leadership Conference.

Smith says an increased focus on youth suicide has led some states in the US to mandate suicide prevention training for education staff. He believes our training can help all education communities become suicide-safer because it teaches students, teachers and staff members the skills and confidence to make a difference. 

“One thing I love about our training is we give people the skills,” says Smith. “I can stand in front of someone and teach them how to change a tire, but until I get them out there in the garage to practice, they’re never going to be comfortable doing it. Our training incorporates that practice component that gives people the confidence to do an intervention.” 

School staff members are not only helping the youth, but Smith says they are also helping each other. 

“With LivingWorks training, staff members can learn to help each other out and form a Network of Safety in their staff community,” says Smith. “We can give people the confidence to know that if something does happen, they’ve learned the skills to work through those situations.” 

To learn more about LivingWorks suicide prevention skills training, or how we can make a difference in your education community, visit our education/youth page.  

Related Topics

When a person is having thoughts of suicide, it is often the people they see regularly – like their work colleagues – who first notice a change and are best positioned to reach in and

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, click the link to our Find Safety page.  Around the world, there is various legislation governing the circumstances in which a medical professional provides

The conference will be hosted at the Kia Oval in London, UK.