As a 2nd year MOT student at UBC on fieldwork placement with the CAOT-BC, I attended many events including the CAOT-BC Networking and Education Day. These Networking and Education days allow occupational therapists in BC (and beyond) to gather and develop skills and knowledge in specific practice areas.
During one such day at the end of February, Natalia Allende from Community Therapists presented a session titled Functional Driving Evaluation and Driver Rehab, and Scott Marcinkow an Associate from Harper Grey LLP provided a legal perspective on Duty to Accommodate in the workplace. As a student, I valued the opportunity to connect with a diverse group of OTs and learn about these topics together.
In addition, the Networking and Education Day included a half-day training session titled safeTALK - training intended to prevent suicide by increasing awareness of and developing skills for talking about suicide. My initial impression of the session was that it delivered an important message, but it was not geared to an audience of health professionals. We already have the language to talk about suicide with our patients – and the training didn’t really expand on that. I wasn’t convinced the training was worthwhile.
And then today, I asked a friend if they had been thinking about suicide. Would I have done that if I hadn’t had the safeTALK training? I don’t think so.
As (burgeoning) health care professionals, we learn the skills to have these conversations with clients and patients – but can we have them with the people we care about? Are you convinced that you’d know how to talk to a friend, colleague, or family member about suicide?
I’m convinced I do. I should thank safeTALK training for that.
In retrospect, I think we can all benefit from developing tools to normalize conversations about suicide both professionally and personally. In my opinion, any training that makes you more confident speaking to patients, friends, colleagues, and family members about suicide is a good thing.
Post by Alana Marshall, fieldwork student with CAOT-BC