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Council funds local trainer to ASIST with mental health


As part of Gloucestershire County Council's (GCC) continued work on improving mental health in the county, the council's public health team have funded training for an officer to train frontline staff in how to support people who are feeling suicidal.

Emily Toomer, who currently works for the Forest of Dean district council (FODDC) in the Community Engagement team, was selected from a number of candidates and has completed a course in delivering Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST).

ASIST was developed in 1983 and is widely regarded as the world's leading suicide intervention workshop, with over 1,000,000 people having taken part since it started.

During a two-day interactive training course, participants are taught to intervene and help prevent the immediate risk of suicide.

ASIST teaches effective intervention skills for frontline staff that may have to deal with high risk individuals, whilst helping to build suicide prevention networks in Gloucestershire.

GCC's public health team secured funding of just under £10,000 from Health Education England to train Emily in ASIST so that she can share her skills with front line staff around the county.

Emily will deliver these (six) training courses over the next two years, with her first training course to frontline workers having taken place last month.

Cllr Andrew Gravells, cabinet member for public health, said: "I'm delighted to have Emily on board to complement the work we're already doing on suicide prevention.

"This training will give front line staff working across Gloucestershire the skills needed to support people who are in crisis, and help to reduce the number of suicides in the county."

Emily Toomer, said: "I'm really proud and excited to be a part of Gloucestershire's efforts to address the issue of suicide by delivering ASIST workshops for the county.

"Its something I've always been passionate about, and I hope to help to reduce stigma around suicide and mental illness. The first workshop went very well and it was amazing to see some of the care and compassion already being shown towards suicide within the county.

"It is great to see the county council building on the strengths already present within its local area in order to reach a greater number of residents and further improve emotional health and wellbeing across the Gloucestershire."

The next training sessions will take place in September, and more details can be requested from

If you need support or advice, you can call the Samaritans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for free on 116 123 or the Gloucestershire Self-harm Helpline on 0808 801 0606 (helpline), 07537 410022 (text) or (includes online message service), 5pm to 10pm every day.

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