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Home : News : News
NEWS | June 19, 2014

JBSA offering safeTALK training courses

By Gloria Kwizera JBSA-Lackland Public Affairs

Joint Base San Antonio has started a series of safeTALK training sessions here to continue the Air Force tradition of taking care of people and providing them with the best possible support programs.

SafeTALK, which stands for Suicide Alertness For Everyone; Tell, Ask, Listen and KeepSafe, is a suicide prevention program designed to provide Airmen, Department of Defense civilians and family members with the skills needed to identify people who might have thoughts of suicide. SafeTALK-trained personnel can connect the individual at risk to suicide first aid and intervention caregivers for assistance.

Based on a concept developed by LivingWorks program, safeTALK trains individuals to be aware of opportunities to help a person with thoughts of suicide that are commonly missed, dismissed or avoided.

"This training is important because it provides you with the tools and confidence needed to intervene when you recognize suicidal warning signs instead of avoiding them," said Senior Airman Christopher Bibikan, 502nd Air Base Wing chaplain assistant.

"In turn, this provides a healthier, safer community because there more resources available out there in the work place for those who need it."

"The best way to prevent the situation is to be direct and ask the question 'Are you thinking about suicide?'" he said. "You will be surprised by how honestly people answer this question; nobody wants to die, we all want to survive and live."

The three-hour hands-on suicide alertness training course includes lectures, small group discussions and role play. It will be held at the Freedom Chapel, building 1528, and at the Gateway Chapel, building 6300, at various times this summer.

"Our goal is to train 450 individuals and so far we have reached 240,"said Chaplain (Maj.) James Anderson, 502nd ABW branch chief for technical training.

Anderson said community involvement is needed in suicide prevention because early identification and intervention is key to saving lives.

"Base personnel are encouraged to get involved and also know that they are not just limited to the scheduled courses," Anderson emphasized.

"We are available to come by the squadrons or units around the base and JBSA to provide safeTALK training to individual units.

"This program is meant to be more than just suicide awareness; it trains individuals to be more actively involved in taking care of Airmen who are at risk and connecting them with resources."
For more information on how to become a safeTALK-trained suicide alert helper, contact Bibikan or Senior Airman Benjamin Ross at 671-2911.