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How Effective are Gatekeepers in Preventing Suicide?

Posted Aug 04 2010 10:16am
Suicide is a significant public health problem worldwide that requires evidence-based prevention efforts. One approach to prevention is gatekeeper training. Gatekeeper training programs for community members have demonstrated positive changes in knowledge and attitudes about suicide. Changes in gatekeeper skills have not been well established. A paper published in a recent issue of Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention  examine the impact of a brief gatekeeper training program on community members’ observed skills. For the study, fifty participants were randomly selected for skills assessment and videotaped interacting with a standardized actor prior to and following training. Tapes were reliably rated for general and suicide-specific skills. The results showed that gatekeeper skills increased from pre- to post-test: 10% of participants met criteria for acceptable gatekeeper skills before training, while 54% met criteria after training. Pretraining variables did not predict increased skills. Despite this finding, result do not provide firm conclusions about the relationship between observed gatekeeper skills and actual use of those skills in the future. The researchers conclude that gatekeeper training enhances suicide-specific skills for the majority of participants. Other strategies, such as behavioral rehearsal, may be necessary to enhance skills in the remaining participants

For the abstract .
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