NCSC Instructors Teach Suicide Prevention at VA Medical Center

Naval Education and Training Command
Story by Cmdr. Matt Weems

Date: 06.29.2018
Posted: 07.10.2018 13:49
News ID: 283732
Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training Presented by Navy Chaplain

By Cmdr. Matthew S. Weems, Naval Chaplaincy School and Center

Naval Chaplaincy School and Center (NSCS) instructors conducted Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) at the Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn Veterans Affairs Medical Center (DORN VAMC) June 28-29.

Lt. Cmdr. Leroy Young and Cmdr. Matt Weems were invited to provide ASIST for various staff members at the Dorn VAMC. ASIST is a two-day workshop to help understand what suicide is, how to recognize those thoughts and behaviors in other people, and to practice specific ways to intervene and provide resources for people in need.

“What a humbling opportunity to train other helping professionals to not only recognize those with suicidal behaviors, but also provide the appropriate care to keep them ‘safe for now,’” said Young.

Veterans need support to take on the many challenges they face. The training increased the students’ knowledge and abilities as caregivers who support veterans.

“This training was awesome,” said Doris Thomas, a licensed independent social worker. “It prepares you to handle suicide intervention, no matter your professional status or role. The trainers were well prepared, professional and pragmatic.”

Throughout the training, discussions centered on the topic of helping people at risk discover options beyond suicide.

“I recommended this training to my co-workers,” said Aaron Moore, a licensed master social worker. “As a social worker the training enhanced my skills to engage veterans who are at risk or having thoughts of suicide - intense, impactful, and empowering presentation.”

Navy chaplains often offer this training to the Sailors and Marines they serve as part of religious ministry and suicide prevention efforts.

“ASIST encouraged me to focus on my role as a person who helps individuals at risk of suicide. My intervention with the person at risk may be just what is needed to prevent a suicide,” said Samuel Cox Jr., a volunteer peer counselor.

For information about the Naval Chaplaincy School and Center, visit