A suicide prevention course is being offered in Poundmaker First Nation to help residents better assist those suffering from mental illness. Battle River Treaty 6 Health Centre is hosting the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training course, which has been utilized internationally.

Wellness Director Jose Pruden says during the two-day course people receive the information needed to aid someone with suicidal thoughts, which could potentially save their life.

“In our Indigenous communities, we tend to have, unfortunately, higher rates of suicide so training such as ASIST gives people practical tools when someone is thinking about suicide so they can help create safety for themselves,”¬† Pruden adds that more people that receive the help needed also creates a safer community.

The course will offer people the skills to identify someone who may be at risk of suicide, what to do next and how to create a safety plan.

“Realistically, getting people to a counsellor right away may not happen especially at midnight on a Friday but their things we can do to keep people safe until they can get to other services.”

Pruden says she will be teaching the course in Poundmaker, which had residents who reached out to the centre because they felt there was a need for the course in the community. The course will be available free of charge to any of the seven First Nations communities that the centre services including Poundmaker and Moosomin.

“The more people that are knowledgeable and have skills in the community, it doesn’t matter who you’re you can take this training as long as you’re 16 and older, then the safer the community is because people are paying attention and willing offer support.”

The course will be held at Poundmaker First Nation school on July 16 and 17 from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. Participants are required to show up to both days of the course in order to register. Upon completion, they will receive a certificate.

Anyone who is looking to take the course can contact Pruden at the Battle River Treaty 6 Health Centre.