News from Northern Lower Regional AHEC

The NLRC Program and Grants Manager, Sarah McComb, recently attended Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) in Petoskey. The training is a two-day interactive workshop that teaches participants to recognize when someone may have thoughts of suicide and work with them to create a plan that will support their immediate safety. As a scientifically proven intervention model that was developed in 1983, ASIST has trained over 1 million people.

Sarah is one of two staff at MidMichigan Community Health Services who have completed this training. They will be working closely with Dr. Stacey Gedeon, Director of Behavioral Health and Integrated Primary Care, to determine how their skills can be used within the health center's Behavioral Health Emergency Protocol. The health center's Behavioral Health Emergency Protocol supports patients who contact MidMichigan Community Health Services by phone or in-person and are experiencing thoughts of suicide or homicide. In instances where behavioral health or primary care staff are not on site and available, staff who are trained in ASIST will be able to provide immediate assistance, allowing our Patient Services and Reception staff to focus on other patients. The ASIST-trained staff will have the skills and time to devote to the needs of the patient, helping to develop a safety plan and connecting patients with the resources they need to meet their individual needs.

The program will be piloted and then expanded as needed. The NLRC is pleased to be able to support its host site in implementing this program that aims to meet the mental health needs of the community, which have increased with the COVID-19 pandemic.