Year: 2023 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. (2021), 51(5), 844-853. SIEC No: 20230007

The majority of individuals experiencing depression or in crisis do not seek assistance through formal support pathways. Thus, the presence of informal “gatekeepers” in the community is vital to identifying and supporting these individuals through crisis. The objective of this study was to evaluate the longitudinal effectiveness of “SafeTALK” suicide prevention gatekeeper training in a general community sample.
Two hundred and sixty-two community members participated in half-day (4-h) gatekeeper training sessions. Surveys were taken pre- and post-training and at 6-month follow-up to evaluate participants’ knowledge, preparedness, and efficacy, as well as reluctance to intervene as a suicide prevention gatekeeper.
Longitudinal effects were revealed for three of four evaluated appraisals. Scores for knowledge, preparedness, and efficacy were significantly higher (improved) 6 months after training, compared to pre-test. While participants showed even greater immediate effects (i.e., pre-test to post-test), follow-up scores indicate that the positive effects of training were sustained over 6 months.
This study is the first to evaluate SafeTALK in a community population. SafeTALK was shown to be effective at improving knowledge, preparedness, and efficacy with effects declining over time but remaining significant from pre-test. Community suicide prevention programs can benefit from the inclusion of gatekeeper training programs.