Getting Real About Suicide Prevention

GRASP (Growth, Resilience, Acknowledgement, Suicide Awareness, Prevention and Personal Planning)

GRASP (Growth, Resilience, Acknowledgement, Suicide Awareness, Prevention and Personal Planning) is a 12-hour skill building program that provides youth Grades 4 to 12 with self-awareness, communication, and coping skills that will aid them in their personal and professional growth as well as contribute to an overall plan for ongoing youth suicide prevention programs within school districts.

Student Curriculum

Lesson 1: Listening, acknowledging, and validating (Growth)

Lesson 2: Tools for coping, finding our strengths, tools for helping others (Growth, Resilience)

Lesson 3: Healthy and unhealthy behaviours, how and when to set a boundary, introduction to suicide prevention (Resilience, Acknowledgement, Suicide Awareness)

Lesson 4: Suicide prevention, community resources, crisis line and school Counselling, helping peers who are struggling, coping cards and safe planning (Suicide Awareness, Prevention and Planning)

Empathy Students from Nanaimo District Secondary School created a promotional video about the Vancouver Island Crisis Society's GRASP program. We are proud of the inspiring contributions these students have made in this piece.

Young people often turn to their peers in times of difficulty and are aware of school dynamics about which school staff may not be cognizant. GRASP was developed as a Peer Gatekeeper training program to provide youth with the skills needed recognize and identify students at risk and where they can turn for help.

GRASP was designed to the boost self confidence, problem solving, community resource knowledge, knowledge of school district protocols, critical thinking, awareness of personal biases, resilience, and suicide awareness and response in students selected to take the program.

Through a series of games, interactive discussion, group activity, written work, and role play, youth learn:

  • Active listening skills
  • The impact of  social and cultural biases on listening and helping
  • Why difficult situations can be turning points for the better
  • The power of our choices
  • How to respectfully communicate in an open and direct manner
  • The differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships
  • How to recognize manipulation
  • When to set boundaries
  • How to set boundaries
  • Coping with crisis
  • Suicide awareness, the importance of reaching out, and never keeping suicide a secret
  • Community resource information

GRASP Mentor Training

One of the most exciting things about working with youth is discovering how empathetic and savvy they are. As a result of a pilot project, we offer a GRASP Mentor Training program, where students from Grades 10 to 12 learn how to present information about anxiety, overthinking, stress, and safe social media use to Grade 8 students. Mentor Training students are required to participate in four training sessions where they are helped to customize their own personal introductions and stories relating to the gateway workshop’s topics. The newly trained mentors then receive their own set of personalized presenter’s notes to go along with a PowerPoint presentation. It is heartening to witness mentors’ personal growth and their pride in receiving their personalized notes.


We acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia for Community Education programming

UWCNVI logo-horiz

Please also see list of private donors.

GRASP is facilitated by Lyndsay Wells, Heather Owen and Matt Dunae. For further information, call 250-753-2495, toll free at 1-877-753-2495, or email

© Vancouver Island Crisis Society. All rights reserved. No commercial reproduction, distribution or transmission of any part or parts of this workshop or any information contained therein by any means whatsoever is permitted without the prior written permission of Vancouver Island Crisis Society

Student commentary about GRASP