Background: A number of Delphi expert consensus studies have been carried out with different countries and cultural groups to develop guidelines on how a member of the public should provide assistance to a person who is suicidal. The present study aimed to determine whether cross-culturally generalizable suicide first aid actions are possible by comparing agreement across these Delphi studies.
Methods: Data on endorsement rates for items were compared across six Delphi studies. These studies involved panels of professionals and consumer advocates from English-speaking countries, professionals from Sri Lanka, professionals from Japan, professionals from India, professionals from the Philippines, and professionals and consumer advocates in refugee and immigrant mental health. Correlations were calculated between item endorsement rates across panels.
Results: There were 18 items that were highly endorsed across all eight of the Delphi panels and an additional 15 items highly endorsed across the panels from the three lower middle-income countries (India, Philippines and Sri Lanka). Correlations across panels in item endorsement rates were all 0.60 or above, but were higher between panels from countries that are socioeconomically similar.
Conclusions: There is broad agreement across the diverse expert panels about what are appropriate suicide first aid actions for members of the public, indicating that cross-cultural generalizability is possible. However, there is also some cultural specificity, indicating the need for local tailoring.