Suicide and cardiac arrest are two of the leading causes of death around the world. In the United States alone, over 47,000 people died by suicide in 2019 and nearly 356,000 people experienced out-of-hospital cardiac arrests the same year. While these numbers are staggering, there are life-saving skills that can help prevent these tragic outcomes – suicide prevention training and CPR certification. Gaining skills in these areas can empower you to save a life when encountered with a suicide or cardiac crisis. This article will explore the importance of suicide prevention and CPR training, how these two skill sets are connected, and resources available to get certified in both.

The Critical Need for Suicide Prevention Skills

Suicide touches people from all walks of life and does not discriminate based on age, gender, race, or background. In fact, suicide was the 2nd leading cause of death for people ages 10-34 in 2019. With the many stresses people face in today’s world, it’s more important than ever to know the signs of a suicide crisis and how to intervene.

Some key risk factors that can indicate someone is considering suicide include:

  • Talking about wanting to die, feeling hopeless, or having no reason to live
  • Displaying extreme mood swings or increased agitation, aggression, or rage
  • Withdrawing from loved ones or isolating themselves
  • Acting recklessly or engaging in risky behavior
  • Struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues
  • Experiencing a major loss or life change such as a death, divorce, or job loss
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol
  • Having a previous suicide attempt or family history of suicide

Many of these risk factors manifest in changes in someone’s mood, behavior, or disposition. That’s why it’s so critical to know the warning signs and talk to loved ones who exhibit them. Studies show talking openly and directly about suicide actually reduces the risk of an attempt. Most people considering suicide don’t truly want to die – they need hope and help during an intense time of crisis.

Asking questions like “Are you thinking about suicide?” or “Do you have a plan to kill yourself?” allows a person to share their feelings. You can then connect them with prevention resources like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or organizations that help individuals find therapists and support groups. Knowing how to recognize a crisis and take action helps save lives.

Why CPR Training Also Saves Lives

Like mental health first aid strategies, CPR training equips people to take action in a life-threatening emergency – in this case, cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating, cutting off blood flow to vital organs like the brain. It claims over 350,000 lives per year in the U.S. alone.

Cardiac arrest can strike for many reasons – underlying heart conditions, electrocution, trauma, respiratory distress, drug overdose, and more. Drowning is another common cause as water submersion prevents oxygenation. Performing CPR helps circulate blood and oxygen until emergency medical services (EMS) arrive.

Effective CPR combines chest compressions with rescue breaths in a repeated sequence. Certification courses teach you proper technique, positioning, pace, and pressure for delivering compressions to someone in cardiac crisis. Proper CPR administration has been shown to double or even triple survival rates in many cases.

Connections Between Suicide Prevention and CPR Training

You may wonder what suicide prevention and CPR training have in common. After all, one skill set focuses on the heart while the other focuses on mental health. However, they share some striking similarities:

Both help you recognize an emergency – Whether it’s spotting the signs of a suicide crisis or witnessing sudden cardiac arrest, identification is the critical first step. It allows you to take action in the precious minutes before professional help can arrive.

Both involve dedicated interventions – Just like CPR techniques keep blood pumping to vital organs, suicide prevention strategies keep someone alive by getting them through an intense period of crisis. These interventions provide support and buy time.

Both require overcoming fear or hesitation to act – Jumping into action in an emergency situation takes courage. But it’s a necessary response that can save a life.

Both benefit from widespread public awareness – When more citizens know these lifesaving skills, more lives can be helped and even saved. Both CPR and mental health first aid should be basic public knowledge.

Both fill a gap until medical services arrive – Administering CPR or suicide prevention aid on the scene provides immediate assistance when someone needs it most. It helps ensure care while awaiting paramedics or mental health professionals.

Both involve ongoing practice and training -Skills like CPR and mental health first aid grow sharper with frequent repetition. It’s important to refresh training regularly to keep responses instinctual.

Both can be performed by non-professionals – Everyday people can learn and apply these techniques to save lives in their community. They don’t require years of medical expertise.

Both are about compassion in crisis – More than just a set of techniques, these skills represent kindness, hope, and care for human life when it’s hanging in the balance.

Mastering the basics of mental health first aid and CPR empowers ordinary folks to provide compassionate emergency care. And every instance of a life saved is incredibly meaningful.

Where To Receive CPR and Suicide Prevention Training

If you don’t know CPR or key suicide prevention strategies, it’s time to change that. You never know when you might need to draw on these skills to save someone right in front of you. Here are some options to receive training:

Suicide Prevention Training Resources

Mental Health First Aid – Variety of in-person and online courses teaching suicide intervention and other MHFA skills. Offered in the U.S., Canada, Australia.

LivingWorks – Leading provider of Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). Two-day interactive workshop available locally and online. – – Non-profit organization dedicated to mental health advocacy.

Suicide Prevention Resource Center – Provides suicide prevention best practices, tools, webinars and more. Funded by the U.S. government.

The Trevor Project – Trainings and resources focused on suicide prevention in LGBTQ youth. Local in-person workshops available.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – OffersTalk Saves Lives suicide prevention introduction along with more comprehensive courses.

Local mental health agencies – Check for class offerings in your community. Many clinics and counseling centers provide training.

Preparedness Empowers Action

Knowing what to look for and how to respond in a crisis can save precious lives. CPR certification and suicide prevention training offer invaluable skills to provide care and comfort when someone is hanging in the balance. These acts of compassion have ripple effects that impact whole families, communities, and our society.

Strengthening our human connections through education is key. The more everyday citizens know about mental health first aid strategies, the more lives can be saved from suicide. Similarly, widespread CPR knowledge ensures quicker intervention that improves survival outcomes after cardiac events. Seeking out these certifications will make you an empowered responder in times of crisis. Our friends, neighbors, coworkers, and loved ones across communities will benefit.