Save a life - Take the I Will Intervene Challenge
Learn more about our workshops
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should take the I WILL INTERVENE CHALLENGE?
Anyone wanting to learn the skills that are saving the lives of those at risk of suicide should take the Challenge. AFM workshops are also approved to provide CE credit in the state of Georgia for mental health professionals and nurses. Due to the content of the workshop the minimum age for participation is 16.
Why use the word “Challenge”?
Many people don’t know how to broach the subject of suicide when they see the signs. Additionally, the discussion of suicide is very difficult for many people; especially those who have experienced loss of loved ones or friends by suicide. It's the white elephant in the room; the subject we dare not mention. Yet every year more people die by suicide than from automobile accidents. Suicide in the U.S. is also 2.5 times higher than the homicide rate. Suicide, like cancer or heart disease, is part of the human condition. The goal of the workshop is to develop courageous communities by training as many people as we can from all walks of life; this is our greatest challenge.
How are workshops conducted?
Small group discussions and skills practice are based on adult learning principles using a practical guide to doing suicide interventions. Powerful videos and simulation exercises support learning. Participants learning objectives include:
•Identify individuals at risk
•Understand how beliefs and attitudes can affect intervention
•Seek a shared understanding of the reasons for dying and living
•Review risk and develop a plan to increase safety
•Follow up on safety commitments
What are AFM's core values?
We believe that life is sacred and that (barring other mental health issues) a major cause of suicide is overwhelming feelings of hopelessness. We believe that resilience is fundamental to total well-being. We believe resilience is strengthened through faith, prayer exercise, healthy family relations, honesty about struggles and a community network of positive role models. We believe resilience skills can be learned to aid in overcoming life challenges. We believe individual resilience strengthens the community as a whole.
Does one suicide lead to another?
Whenever there is a suicide in a community the risk for that community is greatly increased. Faithfully and directly dealing with the issue of suicide is really no different from dealing with any other epidemic crisis. If a community suddenly experienced an outbreak of Malaria there would be an immediate call for vaccines in order to inoculate those at risk. The same is true of suicide. After a loss time is of the essence; delays in response have the potential of bringing fourth more pain and sorrow for the community.
What about the stigma?
We are not on a mission to “stamp out stigma”. It is our belief that such a mission would actually increase stigma; it’s the labeling paradox. However, we do believe stigma is reduced through open, honest discussions and training. Rather than attempting to reduce stigma we seek to raise awareness of the human condition. We talk about the “white elephant”; we embrace reality, in so doing communities are strengthened and lives are saved.
Why should we partner with AFM for a community workshop? AFM staff hase worked with more than 32,000 military personnel and civilians. Our facilitators are certified Master Trainers with backgrounds in crisis intervention training through law enforcement, military and hospital chaplaincy, and pastoral care counseling. Education of our facilitators includes: Doctorate in Counseling, M.Divs, Master’s in Crisis Management and certifications as Master Trainers in Suicide Intervention, Mental Health First Aid, Strong Bonds, Ethics, and Personal Resilience. AFM’s Lead Facilitator, Kenneth Koon has briefed Army personnel on the subject of suicide at the Pentagon, US Army Military Intelligence Command, US Army Medical Command, 99th Regional Support Command, Command Sergeant Majors Conference, 80th Training Command, as well as various churches, hospitals, schools, and community groups. He is also actively engaged in personal suicide intervention and lives by the model he teaches others.
"The Challenge has given me a voice to help end
the epidemic of suicide - one person at a time."
Rebecca Gray, retired educator who lost son to suicide
Since its inception in the fall of 2012 nearly 4,000 individuals have participated in the I WILL INTERVENE CHALLENGE, awareness seminars and intervention skills development one and two-day workshops.
Lives are being saved. In 2013 in our hometown community of Fayette County, Georgia suicide hit a 20 year low and a 50% reduction from the previous year.
We recognize that taking the workshop is a challenge for some. The discussion of suicide is often a difficult subject to address. The Challenge helps participants understand that suicide is part of the human condition just as cancer, heart disease or any other illness. Knowing how to address the issues of risk and being able to identify the signs are essential to helping those who are hurting. Being able to ask the suicide question in a calm and non-judgmental way opens the door to building a bridge that strengthens those who feel as if they can't go on.
Many of our participants have reported back that within days of taking the workshop they were able to utilize the skills learned to save a life and AFM founder and executive director, Kenneth Koon personally conducted more than 150 suicide interventions in 2015.
We encourage churches, civic organizations and others to help organize a challenge for your community. Join us in the mission to stem the tide of suicide.
In the Absence of Signs
1 in 5 teens that die from suicide never exhibit any signs
The question that is often raised “WHAT if there are no signs?” It’s like a dangerous beach that has no signs warning others of the potential dangers. This is why it is important to have a clear understanding of risk factors.
In the military every member from private to general is considered a safety officer. We are always alert to risk. In the same way every individual who is concerned with the safety of their loved ones and friends should be alert to risk.
Just because your cabinet is full of medicine doesn’t mean your three-year old is going to accidently ingest pretty colored pills thinking they are candy, but that’s why safety mechanisms are put in place. The risk of harm is present, but certain steps can mitigate potential risk. Reducing suicide is very much the same idea. Sometimes there are no signs, but awareness helps us to understand the risk that is present.
Risk = Present Realities and Circumstances
Another way to think of risk – it’s like the ingredients in a recipe book. If you have eggs, butter, flour vanilla extract, sugar and milk sitting on your kitchen counter you have the recipe for a grandma’s pound cake. You may say well a child doesn’t know how to make a cake, yet all the ingredients are there to make a cake. When you see the ingredients, the risk factors in a child’s life it is time to do some inquiry. What’s going on in this situation?
Excerpt from the L3 Suicide Intervention Training Model
“Previous suicide training I attended focused only on seeing the signs. AFM’s L3 goes much deeper to help us understand the risks and signs. Practical examples were excellent in highlighting the various training points.” LTC Carl Hall, USA (ret.)
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