Last year, I had the opportunity to take the two-day Mental Health First Aid course. I found that this course was practical, I learned more about mental illness and mental wellness, I learned strategies to help someone who is having a mental health crisis, and increased my understanding and empathy.
In the study Psychological Determinants of Mental Health in the Legal Profession, Cadieux, 2022; a nation-wide survey of the legal profession in Canada, they found that 24% of all lawyers responding had suicidal thoughts since beginning their legal practice. In the general population, 2% of people have suicidal thoughts annual, and 11% throughout their lifetime. The statistics in our profession are high and we have to pay attention.
This fall, I am taking suicide prevention training to build on my knowledge and ability to support a person who is thinking of suicide as a first responder. ASIST stands for Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training. It uses internationally recognized best practices and is designed for people to learn to recognize and assist a person to avoid suicide, to be able to discuss suicide directly with the person who is struggling, and understand and destigmatize myths and ideas about suicide and the things that create risks, to name a few. There are courses offered throughout the year, and we can also arrange for a group training course for Law(yer) Strong Volunteers if there is sufficient interest.
If you are interested, you can contact us to learn more about where you can take a course.