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Here are 13 of the 14 recent graduates of the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) course held in Chester on March 27-28. Back row from left: Nicki Rodriguez, Becky Powers, Darrah Hopper, Tammy Masters, Marti Hopper, Christina Walzer, Shawn Bondon and Dana Nowling (Trainer). Front row from left: Ryan Nielsen (Trainer), Crystal Finn, Jobana Townsend, Ann Holt, Kacie Broussard, Tammy Woden and Michael Looney. Certified, but not pictured, Alan Reeder. Photo submitted

Fourteen complete ASIST training in Chester

Most people would agree that, “One life lost to suicide is one too many.”

Student, senior citizen, veteran or any other, no one should ever have the idea that life is not worth living.

In a continuing effort to address suicide concerns in Plumas County, Plumas Rural Services (PRS) in cooperation with Plumas County Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) is offering two-day workshops on Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) for Plumas residents.

On March 27 and 28 the training team came to Chester for that very purpose.

The sessions are designed to provide knowledge about suicide, and teach participants how to reach out and gain confidence to help save a life.

The course includes lots of information, ways to recognize signs of distress, group discussions and role-playing scenarios.

Graduates of the course included 10 Chester residents, three from Greenville and one from Quincy.

Three of the Chester grads are employees at Seneca Hospital. Congratulations to all of these caring individuals.


Training similar to this has been ongoing since 2016 when Feather River College was awarded a three-year Federal SAMHSA grant for campus suicide prevention and partnered with PRS to apply for and deliver on the grant.

One of the deliverables required by the grant was to deliver gatekeeper training related to Suicide Prevention and Intervention. This became the responsibility of Dana Nowling, Community Services manager for PRS.

The programs chosen for these trainings are the two-day ASIST course and the 3.5-hour safeTalk suicide alertness training developed by LivingWorks.

Fully certified facilitators are currently presenting these important training programs.

In October 2018, Plumas Rural Services was awarded another three-year grant through SAMHSA.

This is a Mental Health Awareness Training grant that will enable PRS to continue to deliver training across all Plumas communities in the county at no cost to the participants.

PRS is now offering a third training course called Mental Health First Aid, which is an eight-hour course for certification.

PRS is presently in the process of certifying several new trainers to help expand community opportunities.

At this writing over 70 people across the county have been trained in ASIST and more than 200 in safeTALK.

The stated purpose of these trainings is, “To equip people across our communities to help someone who is having a mental health crisis and/or having thoughts of suicide.”

The trainings are not designed for mental health professionals, but for anyone, from all walks of life, who would like to help another person.

“There is a particular focus to reach out to veterans and their families, college students, healthcare providers and first responders, but we are aware that anyone can be at risk and we all can help if we know how to respond,” added Nowling.

Training registration

The registration for the next training scheduled July 24 and 25 in Quincy is already full. There will be new dates announced soon. Information on the new ASIST dates and other trainings can be accessed online at www.plumasruralservices.org/ASIST .

Contacts for crisis intervention in Plumas County are:

– Plumas-Sierra Crisis Hotline: 283-4333 or 800-332-2754.

– National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255.

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