Enhancing the knowledge, attitudes and supportive actions of men and their peer group is a potential pathway for reducing suicide risk in middle-aged and older men. The current study involves a cluster randomised controlled trial which will investigate the effectiveness of the Mental Health First Aid Conversations About Suicide (MHFA-CAS) course in Men’s Sheds across Australia.
Men’s Sheds will be randomly allocated to the intervention group (the MHFA-CAS course) or the wait-list control group. The trial will be conducted in 24 Men’s Sheds clusters and we aim to include 24 participants per cluster (576 in total; 288 per arm). Participants will be asked to complete a baseline questionnaire (T1) and 1-month (T2) and 7-month follow-up questionnaire (T3). Participants in the control group will be asked to complete questionnaires at corresponding times. Changes in intentions to help someone at risk of suicide will be the primary outcome. Several secondary outcome measures will also be included. An economic evaluation will be conducted, drawing on health-related quality of life, the intervention costs and mental health service use costs.
Findings from this trial will demonstrate whether the MHFA-CAS course is able to enhance the knowledge, attitudes and supportive actions of middle-aged and older men towards someone who may be at risk of suicide. It could provide support for teaching the MHFA-CAS course in the approximately 1000 Men’s Sheds in Australia. Ultimately, this may benefit the wellbeing of Australian men affected by suicidality and reduce the burden of suicide deaths.