Asking IS Caring (AIC)

The AIC program is unique in its family-to-family delivery and its integration within school districts, but it also has unique content elements such as asking participants to consider a young person they are concerned during the train to gain valuable practice at communicating with them before there is a crisis. AIC provides prevention information on locking and limiting access to medications and firearms, and on how to promote mental health in the home. The AIC program includes collaborations in which families are provided a unique and safe space to share their lived experiences and connect with one another to develop relationships that extend beyond the program session.


To date, over 200 parents/caregivers in three school districts have participated in the AIC program. Some of the evaluation result highlights include:

  • 99% of participants in AIC reported being satisfied or very satisfied
  • The average trainer credibility score was a 9.53/10 (sd = 1.29)
  • The average perceived impact the training would have on people’s lives was 8.35/10 (sd = 1.5)
  • There was about a 60% increase in participants in AIC reporting that they were confident that they could help the young person they were concerned about after the training compared to before
  • There was also a modest increase in participants who report taking proactive steps to make their homes safer, including locking up medications and firearms in the ways that are outlined during the training four weeks after the training.


Districts who want AIC should treat it as a Tier 1 community-facing intervention and a Tier 2/3 intervention for students and families who need extra support for mental health challenges. A school district staff person is the captain of the parent/caregiver training team. Parents/caregivers who have demonstrated a passion for mental health and suicide prevention in the district are recruited and participate in a 20 hour Training of Trainers. They present the trainings in the school community in pairs. Parents/caregivers are trained by the SMART Center and the district can utilize the materials for free as long as the District is following the AIC program parameters.


If you are interested in more information about AIC, contact Jennifer Stuber, at