Haberdashers’ Monmouth School Community Benefits from Annual Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training

July 3, 2024
Team of school staff holding certificate

Staff from various departments of the school community completing their two day training.

*** Trigger warning – this article references suicide which some readers may find distressing ***

Joanna Johnson, a former Monmouth School for Girls teacher, and Mrs Alex Copley, Teacher Learning Support, delivered the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) course to adult members of the school community. This marked the third consecutive year of this crucial training aimed at equipping participants with essential suicide intervention skills.

This year, 16 participants from various departments of the Haberdashers’ community, underwent the intense two-day training. Feedback was consistently exceptional, emphasising the course’s profound impact.

Laura Beech, a participant, shared, “The ASIST course was one of the most useful and empowering courses that I have attended during a teaching career of more than 30 years. I was apprehensive initially as I knew the course would address complex and challenging situations, but I am now very grateful that I had the opportunity to participate. In my opinion, all teachers and anyone in the position of caring for young people would benefit from attending one of these courses. The trainers who delivered the ASIST course were highly skilled, empathic, and compassionate in their approach to this difficult subject.”

Lyndsay Hope added, “Thank you so much for running such an incredibly constructive and productive course. The examples were realistic and relatable, the experiences of hearing, observing, and then doing were perfect for understanding and embracing the processes, and this is certainly something I will build on for the future. Several times I wished I had known your material at points in life where friends have taken their lives – but you even addressed that on the course.”

Mrs Rachel Rees, Acting Head of Monmouth School for Girls, who participated in the first year, has been a driving force in ensuring the course continued to be offered annually. Her dedication underscored the importance of this training within the community.

Joanna Johnson and Mrs Alex Copley underwent rigorous training to become certified ASIST trainers, dedicating their personal time to complete the programme funded by The Mindstep Foundation. In exchange for a small donation to The Mindstep Foundation, they offered this course, which typically costs over £4,000, highlighting its value and importance.

The Mindstep Foundation, was established in memory of Max Davies, a former Monmouth School for Boys pupil and Mrs Alex Copley’s godson, who tragically died by suicide in 2018. Max was the brother of two former Monmouth School for Girls pupils, and a current Sixth form student. The foundation’s support underscored their commitment to mental health awareness and suicide prevention.

Additionally, Joanna Johnson and Mrs Alex Copley will deliver the ASIST course to a school in Worcester in July as part of the school’s charitable outreach.

Having members of the school community trained to such a high level and having a qualified trainer within Haberdashers’ Monmouth School has positioned the school as a leader in this critical area.

For more information about The Mindstep Foundation, the ASIST course, and their mission, please visit their website.