Educating to Save Lives
Dr. Derrick Copper, a counseling psychologist, and Navy Veteran provided behavioral health services to the Department of Defense, U.S. Army, and Army Substance Abuse Program for 35 years. He trained as a LivingWorks Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) trainer in 2008 while serving at the U.S. Army Presidio of Monterey, California. Dr. Copper’s expertise includes individual counseling, group counseling, prevention education, crisis intervention, and crisis debriefings supporting deployed and redeployed soldiers and their family members. Dr. Copper provided suicide prevention training until his retirement in 2015. After 35 years of civilian service in the military, Dr. Copper said he was done with training.
Dr. Copper moved to Florida in 2015 and continued as a university and community college professor. One day, while watching local news coverage about a teen who suicide in a nearby park, he became outraged. Why didn’t someone notice the signs? How could the parents and school allow this to happen? God spoke to him and said – you can be a part of the problem or a part of the solution.
Dr. Copper decided to be part of the solution and established the Suicide Prevention Training Institute, a veteran-owned 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. With nothing more than an idea and a passion for saving lives, he forged ahead and garnered the support of an all-volunteer team comprised of a Board of Directors and an Operations Manager. He re-certified as a LivingWorks ASIST trainer in 2019 and established a cohort of ASIST-registered trainers.
The vision of the SPTI is to become the premier Community prevention education training resource focusing on reducing the incidence of suicide. The mission is to provide evidence-based educational opportunities to the community designed to develop advocates for suicide prevention and educate them to identify the risk factors for suicide and equip them with effective intervention skills.
With a clear vision and mission for the organization, Dr. Copper and his Board of Directors embarked on a plan to create awareness in the community that suicide can be prevented. Anyone can learn life-saving suicide prevention “first-aid” tools to recognize thoughts of suicide, have a conversation with a person having thoughts of suicide, and keep that person safe for now, thereby increasing help-seeking behaviors thus decreasing suicide attempts and deaths.
The ASIST Workshop presented by SPTI teaches suicide first aid. The training program encourages people to talk about suicidal thoughts, teaches participants how to identify people at risk of suicide, and equips them with the tools to intervene to help them stay safe. The workshop offers something to every participant, no matter how experienced, and is widely used by professionals and the general public.
If you understand that education and awareness are vital components to a community-driven assault on suicide, we encourage you to donate to this organization.
Suicide Prevention Training Institute Christmas Wish List
“Monetary donations would allow us to fund four Veteran and Gatekeeper workshops with twelve attendees each at no cost to participants.”