How to become involved Our mission

We Are LivingWorks1
 We are the suicide intervention training company.
 We believe suicide can be prevented and
communities made suicide-safer.
 We have been leaders in this field for over
twenty-five years.
 We design, develop and deliver programs of the
highest quality.
 We have programs for everyone who wants to help.
 LivingWorks programs help caregivers save lives.
 We bring hope to helpers.
 Our standardized programs can be tailored to
your community.
 We train local trainers to conduct the programs.
 You can count on us for continuing support.
Our Core Beliefs about Suicide
and Its Prevention1
How to become involved
We have resources you will value—you can
apply them with people you care for.
We invite anyone who shares our vision for suicidesafer communities to attend a training or an
awareness session. We encourage those willing and
able to invest in suicide safety to support our work.
There are many ways you or your organization can
become involved.
Suicide can be prevented.
It is possible to save lives and prevent injuries—now.
Help-seeking is encouraged by open, direct and honest
talk about suicide. If you are approachable, people at risk
will seek you out.
Imagine… a suicide-safer community.
Support our work
Benefit from our programs
• Become a participant yourself
• Send someone from your organization
• Invite a LivingWorks trainer to train people in
your organization, team or club
Suicide is a community health problem. Everyone can help.
Thoughts of suicide are understandable, complex and
personal. Approach people at risk with an open mind.
Our mission
Apply to become a trainer
• Attend a Training for Trainers (T4T) course
• Develop the capacity of your organization
to provide suicide alertness and intervention
• Become a donor, sponsor or funder
• Help promote our work or support a project
• Build an enterprise partnership. Invest in suicide
safety through our work
We aim to increase the capacity of people to
provide suicide alertness and intervention training
within their communities and organizations. Trained
caregivers are then better prepared to respond to
persons at risk.
Contact us or visit for more
information about suicide-safer communities.
Relationships are the context of suicide intervention.
Helping either relies upon or builds a relationship.
Intervention should be the main suicide prevention focus.
The emphasis should be on preventing suicidal behaviors.
Cooperation is the essence of intervention. The helper and
person at risk need to work together to prevent suicide.
Intervention skills are known and can be learned. Helpful
skills are known and most everyone can learn them.
Large numbers of people can be taught intervention skills.
The means to teach intervention skills on a large scale
exist now.
LivingWorks Education Inc.
4303D 11 St SE ∙ Calgary, AB, Canada T2G 4X1
TEL 403.209.0242 FAX 403.209.0259
TOLL FREE N.A. 1.888.733.5484
EMAIL [email protected]
LivingWorks Education LP
PO Box 9607 ∙ Fayetteville, NC, USA 28311
TEL 910.867.8822 FAX 910.867.8832
TOLL FREE N.A. 1.888.733.5484
EMAIL [email protected]
Partners in suicide prevention:
We help people prevent suicide and
communities become suicide-safer.
LivingWorks programs were developed in response
to a community concern about suicide. In our
trainings, people learn how to help persons at risk
keep safe and access further supports. The benefits
live on.
Why it matters
Every year more people die by suicide than from
all of the armed conflicts around the world and, in
many places, about the same or more than those
dying in motor vehicles. For every suicide, up to
100 others may be injured by non-fatal suicidal
behaviors. In any year, as many as 6% of the
population have serious thoughts of suicide.
We know that most people considering suicide
would choose to live if they had support to deal
with painful problems in living. We also know that
most people considering suicide communicate their
intent, directly or indirectly.
Our programs provide caregivers and other helpers
with awareness and skills that help to save lives.
Evidence of effectiveness should be broadly defined.
These means are effective.
Summary only; see
LivingWorks programs are part of national, regional and
organizational suicide prevention strategies around the
world. The learning experiences are interactive, practical,
regularly updated and customizable. Comprehensive,
layered and integrated, there is a program for everyone
who wants to help.
What we offer
Participants in LivingWorks programs:
• increase their awareness of suicide and see
prevention opportunities they may otherwise
miss, dismiss or avoid
• become more alert to invitations to ask someone
if they are thinking about suicide
• ask directly about suicide and then respond in
ways that show understanding
• work with persons at risk to assess risk and
increase their safety
• access further support from family, friends and
professional helpers as needed
• help family, friends, colleagues and team mates,
in professional or volunteer roles
© 07/2011 LivingWorks Education Inc.
TOLL FREE N.A. 1.888.733.5484
[email protected]
The history of LivingWorks begins with
volunteer work with the Canadian Mental
Health Association (Calgary South Region). A
multidisciplinary team develops the basics of the
original “foundation workshop” in suicide first
aid. It is developed as a foundation learning
experience, modeled on CPR training for cardiac
emergencies, upon which other programs can
add to or extend. It is framed as a technology
transfer activity that emerged from literature
reviews and clinical experience pointing to a
lack of adequate suicide intervention
gatekeeper training among both community
helpers and clinical professionals.
EARLY 1980s: The workshop evolved out of an
Alberta-wide suicide prevention plan. A Training
for Trainers (T4T) model is trialed as the most
efficient large scale dissemination technology to
support low cost program delivery by local
1985: RTTL and CMHA reach a copyright and
program delivery agreement. RTTL is granted
copyright to the newly named Suicide
Intervention Workshop (SIW) for mixed group
training of community and professional
caregivers/gatekeepers. The rights to disseminate the program within Alberta are given in
perpetuity to CMHA (Alberta Division). RTTL has
world rights to develop and disseminate the
program outside of Alberta. RTTL adopts
Rothman’s technology transfer method (social
R&D) to convert core knowledge from suicidology into a standardized and contextually flexible
suicide intervention program. Using Rothman’s
design, develop and dissemination phases, the
suicide first aid training program is implemented
as widely as possible with high quality control
standards. SIW training spreads beyond Alberta
to various organizations in Canada, USA and
then internationally.
A brief history
1989: The US Army (V Corps) invites
LivingWorks to deliver Applied Suicide
Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), formerly SIW,
to the European Command in Germany as part
of the Army’s “Fit to Win” health program.
1989: Other learning experiences and training
programs begin to be developed and integrated
with the basic foundation platform of ASIST. All
are designed to further the development of
suicide-safer communities: Youth Suicide
Awareness Program (1989), suicideCare (1991),
WorkingTogether (1998), suicideTALK (2000)
and safeTALK (2005).
TODAY IN 2010:
1991: LivingWorks principals Ramsay and
Tanney and CMHA’s Suicide Information and
Education Centre (SIEC) are invited by the
United Nations (UN) to organize, fundraise and
host the world's first inter-regional experts
meeting to develop a national strategy
guideline. The UN guideline is drafted at Banff
in 1993 and officially published in 1996. In
1994, a draft of the UN guideline motivates a
suicide survivor to mobilize a nationwide
grassroots suicide prevention advocacy
movement in the US. Mobilizing a collaborative
partnership between survivors, professionals,
academics and corporations, the UN guideline
underpins the formulation of the US' first
comprehensive national suicide prevention
strategy. This strategy, released in 2001, is the
foundation for subsequent legislative policies
and ongoing funding initiatives, administered by
the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration (SAMHSA) of the Department of
Human and Health Services (DHHS).
2003: The US Army initiates the first ever,
in-theatre suicide intervention training in Iraq.
1997: Roger Tierney, one of the founding
partners, dies from cancer.
1997: Tarie Kinzel joins the LivingWorks team
after 15 years of delivering LivingWorks training
in Saskatchewan, and becomes a partner in the
company in 2000.
1998: ASIST is introduced in Norway through a
medical school initiative at the University of
Northern Norway. All materials are translated
and filmed in a Norwegian context.
2003: Scotland’s national suicide prevention
strategy, Choose Life, imports ASIST.
2004: LivingWorks Education USA Inc. is
formed. Jerry Swanner, former US Army Suicide
Prevention Program Manager, is hired as
2006: The National Suicide Prevention Line
(NSPL) network with over 140 centers around
the USA selects ASIST as their standard of
practice training for crisis line workers.
2007: ASIST has spread to nationwide dissemi-
 Since Washington State launched a statewide suicide
prevention program in 1995 that included ASIST,
LivingWorks training has expanded to state or region wide
application in more US states including: Alaska, Arizona,
Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana,
Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico,
New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.
 In Canada, LivingWorks programs are delivered from BC
to Newfoundland and the northern territories including
Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Nunavuk.
Government, non-government and corporate organizations engaged in health care, mental health, justice, public
safety and community services are involved.
 LivingWorks ASIST, safeTALK and suicideTALK are integral
to suicide prevention training throughout Scotland.
Operations and CEO of LivingWorks.
nation in Norway through “Vivat.” Vivat is
embedded in Norway's national suicide
prevention strategy and receives permanent
funding status under the Department of Health.
 LivingWorks programs have become core components of
national suicide prevention strategies in Wales (Project
Safety) and the Republic of Ireland (Reach Out), are
broadly disseminated through Health Trusts in Northern
Ireland and are regionally delivered in England.
1999: Carole Thannhauser is hired as Director of
1983: A core partnership engaged in develop-
1987: The California Department of Mental
1991: The US Army expands their invitation in
Health (DMH) imported SIW, awarding RTTL
their first single bid, out-of-state, out-of-country
contract to serve all 58 counties in California.
The original three-year contract is annually
extended and funded until 1996, seven years
beyond the original expiry date. Today,
California trainers continue to deliver training
across the state.
Germany to include bereavement and grief
training during the Desert Storm ground war.
1995: Washington State launches the second
statewide suicide prevention program. ASIST is
selected as the intervention training program for
their gatekeeper training component.
2000: At the invitation of the US Army’s Chief of
ment and delivery emerges out of the T4T trials.
Three are from the original multidisciplinary
team—Ramsay (Social Work); Tanney
(Medicine), professional faculty academics at
the University of Calgary (U of C); and Tierney,
U of C Education Psychology doctorate and
student counselor at Mount Royal College. The
fourth is Lang, U of C Education Psychology
doctorate and student counselor at the Banff
School of Fine Arts.
2008: US Air Force Chaplains launch an initiative
to deliver safeTALK, LivingWorks new suicide
alertness training program. The Coast Guard
and various Reserve and National Guard units
deliver ASIST regularly across the country. US
Navy units have been using ASIST since 1987.
 ASIST has significantly seeded in Singapore, New Zealand
and Guam. Demonstrations and pockets of training have
been introduced in Hong Kong, Korea, China, Fiji and
India. Norway’s “Vivat” has seeded training initiatives in
Russia, Lithuania, Denmark and Sweden.
1984: Correctional Services Canada (CSC) uses
the foundation workshop nationwide for its
frontline correctional officers. Ramsay, Tanney,
Tierney and Lang (RTTL) organize as a
1987–88: RTTL receives a total of eight awards,
including a Gold Medal at the New York Film
Festival and an export development award from
the Alberta Economic Development
Department. RTTL’s training program video It
Begins With You, produced by Communications
Media at U of C, remains the most awarded film
in U of C history.
1991: The RTTL partnership becomes
LivingWorks Education Inc., a start-up company
of U of C's new venture capital company,
University Technologies International, Inc. (UTI).
The core program is relabeled Applied Suicide
Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). LivingWorks
is UTI's first investment in soft-product
development. An 11-year royalty agreement will
expires in 2002 and UTI’s return on a
non-repayable $50,000 loan to structure the
company is close to 600%.
1995: Dissemination of LivingWorks programs to
other military services in Canada, Australia,
Norway, and the United Kingdom begins.
1995: A special agreement signed with Lifeline
Australia receives Commonwealth funding for a
three-year field trial. The program is adopted
nationwide under the name LivingWorks
Australia and administered under the auspices
of Lifeline.
1997: LivingWorks receives another two export
development awards—one from the U of C and
one from the Calgary Economic Development
Chaplains Office, LivingWorks joins the
Menninger Leadership Centre of Topeka, Kansas
to provide bi-annual suicide intervention
training to Army Chaplains and Chaplain
Assistants. US Air Force Chaplains launch a
major training initiative to deliver ASIST.
2009: Army G-1 formally confirms ASIST as the
2001: LivingWorks becomes the primary provider
of suicide intervention training for the US Army.
2002: LivingWorks receives the national Canadian
Social Policy Knowledge Transfer award.
suicide intervention training program for the US
2009: ASIST is named one of Canada’s Culture
of Peace Gifts to UNESCO in the International
Decade of Peace.
2002–03: LivingWorks partners with US Army
Materials Command and Applied Physics
Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University to develop
ASIST-R, a post-training reinforcement program.
This is a pilot test of a virtual simulation skills
retention program for the Department of
Defense (DoD).
2007: Scotland’s National Training Award goes
to Choose Life for the introduction and roll out
 ASIST is available in English and has been translated into
French, Spanish, Norwegian and Inuktitut. safeTALK is
available in English and has been translated into French.
 LivingWorks has increased its gross revenues more than
14-fold since 1995. The LivingWorks suite of programs is
now the most widely used and the most recognized
suicide prevention intervention training in the world.
LivingWorks has over 5,000 community-based trainers
around the world who train over 85,000 participants
annually. Since 1985, close to one million caregivers have
participated in ASIST.