safeTALK teaches friends how to be lifelines against suicide
Guam's suicide mortality is significantly higher than the average U.S. crude suicide death rate with approximately 50 deaths per year. The Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center's safeTALK, a free program that teaches people 15 years of age or older how to be a lifeline for those at risk of suicide, was held at the University of Guam.
Tyrone Bryan is a Psychiatric Social Worker and an instructor for safeTALK.
"This is one of the first trainings where I've had where they're actually giving a lot of feedback and they're engaging in conversation and asking very poignant questions. In fact, we just got a question that stumped both of us and we were able to process it with the person who asked the question," Bryan told KUAM News.
Bryan is a little concerned that no men signed up for the class. Men have a higher suicide mortality rate than women. In Guam the rate is 4-to-1, meaning for every female there are four male mortalities.
"I do not want to subscribe to the idea that men are not able to talk about their feelings, I believe men actually will do if they are in a space with individuals they can trust," he share. "But today, I'm hopeful that going forward maybe we'll see a difference in the population and see more men involved."
safeTALK trains participants to be suicide alert ready, emphasizing how to recognize someone who is thinking about suicide and being a lifeline to prevention services.
"Talk about it, ask the question directly. But not be there to actually guide the person through a plan but simply to connect the person," said Bryan. "Suicide is preventable and it simply just starts through talking. Not being afraid to address it and just understand that anyone who approaches the subject with you actually want to tell you that they can't seem to understand why they want to die and they want to get help.
"So if someone is there talking to you about it, be there and connect that person."