Sixth Asia Pacific Regional Conference of the International Association for Suicide Prevention: Preconference Workshops

Sponsoring Organization/Entity:

International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP)

International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP)

 SOS Suicide Polynésie française

SOS Suicide Polynésie française

Co-sponsorship by the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific

World Health Organization

French Polynesia L'Etat en Polynésie française

Fonds Pacifique

Fonds Pacifique

Syngenta Global

Syngenta Global

Preconference Workshops

Preconference Workshops - 10th June 2014      
 Topic  Presenter  Cost  
Gatekeepers (Half day) Ella Arensman 50 € 6,000 XPF
Depression and Suicide Awareness: A Gatekeeper and Train-The-Trainer Workshop (1) (Half day) Ella Arensman 50 € 6,000 XPF
Helplines – developing effective telephone practices with suicidal callers(Full day) Brian Mishara 100 € 12,000 XPF
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) in the treatment of suicidal depression (Full day) Bergjlot Gjelsvik 100 € 12,000 XPF


Ella Arensman, National Suicide Research Foundation, Ireland

Ella Arensman

The Opportunity: This workshop provides a unique opportunity for professionals working in mental health and community based services to increase their awareness of depression and suicidal behavior and to enhance their skills in working with people at risk of suicide.

The Challenge: In essence, gatekeepers open the gate to help for people at risk of suicide. Gatekeepers are individuals within mental health and community based services who may be in a position to identify people at risk of suicide by recognising risk factors for suicide. Early identification of suicide risk is crucial in order to prevent self-harm and is the starting point of suicide prevention.

Educational objectives of the workshop:

  1. To increase the awareness of depression and suicidal behaviour among professionals working in mental health and community based services.
  2. To enhance skills in working with people at risk of suicide.
  3. To train professionals how to deliver Gatekeeper workshops to colleagues.

Professor Ella Arensman, MSc PhD, is Director of Research with the National Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF) and Adjunct Professor with the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College Cork, Ireland. She is currently President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). She is also Vice-President of the European Alliance Against Depression (EAAD).

Dr Arensman has been involved in research and prevention into suicide and self-harm over the last 25 years, with a particular emphasis on risk and protective factors associated with suicide and self-harm, clustering and contagion of suicidal behaviour, and effectiveness of suicide prevention and self-harm intervention programmes. In Ireland, she played a key role in developing Reach Out, the National Strategy for Action on Suicide Prevention (2005-2014). In recent years, she developed an innovative Suicide Support and Information System (SSIS).

She has been involved in numerous international research consortia including the WHO/Euro Multicentre study on Suicidal Behaviour, Child and Adolescent Self Harm (CASE), the European Alliance Against Depression (EAAD), Optimised Suicide Prevention Programmes and their Implementation in Europe (OSPI-Europe), Preventing Depression and Increasing Awareness through Networking in the EU (PREDI-NU), and Mental Health Training through Research Network in Europe (MARATONE). She has published extensively in scientific peer-reviewed journals and international textbooks.


Lanny Berman, American Association for Suicidology, USA

Larry Berman

Clinical mental health practitioners are expected to be the first line of defense in preventing suicide of a referred patient. However, mental health practitioners are significantly under-trained or ill-trained to conduct suicide risk assessments and to formulate levels of risk leading to effective triage and treatment plans. Moreover, much that these practitioners do in the name of assessment is based on folklore, rather than research-informed understandings of associated risk. For example, the typical gateway into assessing a patient’s risk for suicide is for the clinician to enquire about the presence of suicidal thoughts and, if present, to explore further in terms of their duration, frequency, intensity, controllability, associated planning, rehearsal, access to means, etc. If no suicidal ideation is communicated, the typical risk formulation is “none” or “low” risk. Tragically, the majority of patients who subsequently die by suicide deny having suicide ideation when last asked, hence this approach leads the clinician to improperly assess risk in the majority of these patients. This workshop will identify for clinicians research-informed strategies for collecting appropriate data regarding a patient’s potential for suicidal behaviour [risk assessment] and teach to a model for formulating a patient’s level of risk [risk formulation], based on an understanding of how risk factors interact to exacerbate risk in an already vulnerable person, and leading to best triage decisions and treatment planning. A number of case application exercises will be offered to practice applying the proposed risk formulation strategy and participant-presented, culture-sensitive cases will be addressed as introduced by workshop participants.

Dr Lanny Berman is the immediate past-president of IASP (2009-2013) and has served as executive director of the American Association of Suicidology since 1995. He has published 8 books and more than 125 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on suicide and suicide prevention. Dr. Berman is a consulting editor for three journals in Suicidology and Suicide Prevention. A clinician-researcher with interests in professional training and raising standards of care for those suicidal, he has an international reputation as an engaging and thought-provoking presenter.


Bergljot Gjelsvik, Oxford Mindfulness Centre, University of Oxford, UK

Bergljot Gjelsvik

Clinical depression is common and debilitating, and carries an increased risk of suicide. There is evidence that Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT, which combines psychological education and meditation) prevents new episodes of depression. This workshop will provide a theoretical introduction to mindfulness based cognitive therapy, its cognitive science background and its application to recurrent depression, as well as discussion of the use of MBCT with patients with a history of suicidality. Incorporating a significant experiential component, workshop participants will be guided through a number of the mindfulness practices taught in MBCT. Outcomes of a recently completed trial, which compared MBCT to both psychological education and usual care for relapse prevention in individuals with recurrent depression, will be presented, followed by an opportunity for reflection and discussion.

The workshop will provide:

  1. Theoretical introduction to mindfulness and the cognitive science background for applying this to recurrent depression
  2. Experiential taster
  3. Specification of the model of differential activation for suicidal reactivity including imagery, reactivation of suicide-related cognitive deficits
  4. Introduction to developing MBCT for suicidal patients
  5. Presentation of results from the recently completed trial
  6. Experiential ctd - core practices in MBCT

Dr. Gjelsvik is an Honorary Research Clinical Psychologist at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, University of Oxford. She has trained as a clinical psychologist at the University of Oslo and holds a Masters of Studies degree in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) at the University of Oxford. She gained her PhD in suicide prevention and deliberate self-harm from University of Oslo, and is currently undertaking post-doctoral research on mechanisms underlying suicidal vulnerability. Bergljot works clinically with depressed and suicidal individuals using MBCT.


Brian L. Mishara, Centre for Research and Intervention on Suicide and Euthanasia (CRISE) Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada

Brian Mishara

This workshop will provide guidelines and practical experience in methods of telephone crisis intervention with suicidal individuals, based upon results from research studies on the effectiveness of telephone helpline practices with suicidal callers that were conducted in the United States and Canada using silent monitoring techniques. We first briefly discuss the research findings: The ability to be empathetic and establish a good initial contact is related to better call outcomes. However, an approach focusing upon collaborative problem solving was significantly related to more positive outcomes and the non-directive active listening approach was not. Recent research in Canada suggests that more experienced helpers are more effective and volunteers are at least as effective as paid staff. Participants will help identify challenges in the development of best practices based upon research findings and discuss how to develop methods to ensure that those practices are implemented as well as how to establish methods for quality assurance. The issue of adapting practices to caller characteristics and some difficult situations will be discussed using practical examples. The emphasis will be upon practicing brief interventions using role plays and practical examples of case studies. Differences between help over the telephone and help over the internet will be discussed.

Brian Mishara, Psychology Professor, Director of the Centre for Research and Intervention on Suicide and Euthanasia (CRISE) at the Université du Québec à Montréal, Vice-chairperson of the Trustees of Befrienders Worldwide, an international organization of helplines, has published six books in English and five in French, include research on the effectiveness of suicide prevention programmes, how children understand suicide, theories of suicidality, ethical issues, euthanasia and assisted suicide, and evaluations of helpline effectiveness. He was a founder of Suicide Action Montreal, the Montreal suicide prevention centre, a past president of the International Association for Suicide Prevention and Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. He also consults and conducts suicide prevention training internationally and co-edited the book Suicide Prevention and New Technologies: Evidence Based Practice.