What is Suicide Intervention?

The Support Network has a mission: We change lives. We save lives.

The Education Services Program of The Support Network provides workshops and training that range in crisis-related topics from Understanding Self-Harm to Family Violence, but the primary focus is on Suicide Intervention.

You might ask, “What is intervention?”

Intervention is different from Prevention or "Postvention" in that it serves individuals while they are in a state of crisis, a state where it can be seemingly impossible to take that first step towards healthy coping and healing without support. Interventionists ask the right questions at the right time, and listen to the painful stories. They empower those in crisis to keep choosing life, and to create an environment that is as emotionally and physically safe as possible in their time of turmoil.

“But why don’t people just go see a psychiatrist or counsellor?”

That’s often a helpful resource in the ongoing “Postvention” stage, but it’s not for everyone, and usually crisis doesn’t pay attention to regular office hours. Those in crisis need immediate support from a caring and skilled helper, someone who recognizes the problem whenever it arises and has the courage to be a part of the often challenging solution.

“So what does an interventionist do?”

They ask the tough questions that others might be too uncomfortable to ask. They talk about the emotional side, the difficult-to-explain side. They reveal strengths, positive coping and resources that you may not recognize you had. And they empower you to design a plan to heal that is your own, a way to climb out of the pit of crisis with a ladder you built yourself.

“Does intervention really work? I mean, if someone wants to die, won’t they just find another way?”

The best way to answer that is with an example. Have you heard of the Golden Gate Bridge? Ranked the most common location in the world for people to die by suicide; a dubious honour for such a beautiful landmark. But what is significant for our work is that it is also the number one place in the world for a person to survive suicide. Long term data compiled on individuals who received some form of intervention while planning an attempt at the Bridge showed that 94% went on to live their lives and not die by violent means (Seiden, 1978). Similar results have been confirmed repeatedly by numerous other studies.

Intervention is powerful. A caring person with a supportive message at the right time can truly change and save lives. They don’t need to be the expert. Just an empathetic and non-judgmental voice when a person needs it most. This could be a parent, a sibling, a friend. It could be you.

If you want to learn more or find out how you can help someone in crisis, go to http://www.thesupportnetwork.com/ and follow the links to Education + Training to sign up for intervention training.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis, please call our 24/7 Distress Line at 780-482-4357 or visit us at http://www.crisissupportcentre.com/