Background: Suicide is a critical global health issue. Japan has had a high suicide rate for the last 12 decades. In 2007, the Japanese Central Government Ofce issued the “General Principles of Suicide Prevention Policy”. An important component of this policy was the gatekeeper training (GKT) program. GKT is a widely recommended suicide prevention intervention. This study aimed to investigate the association between the announcement of the national suicide prevention policy and implementation of GKT programs in Japan.
Methods: We performed a systematic review of public documents from central and local governments and research literature using three Japanese databases and PubMed. Characteristics of eligible reports and the report quality of local government information were summarized.
Results: All local governments provided information about GKT activities. Over 80% of local governments had specifc GKT webpages, but useful localized information and program evaluations were limited. Our literature search identifed 122 eligible reports. The number of reports increased markedly from 2011 to 2014. However, few of the reviewed research studies used validated outcome measures.
Conclusions: The announcement of the national suicide prevention policy increased the implementation of GKT programs in Japan. However, there remains a need for integration of knowledge and evaluation of GKT programs