Year: 2023 Source: Medical Education Online. (2023). 28(1), 1-14. SIEC No: 20230945
Purpose. Suicide is a major cause of preventable death worldwide. Adequate training in risk assessment and intervention is key to suicide prevention. The use of simulation (role plays, simulated patients, virtual reality…) for practical training is a promising tool in mental health. The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of simulation training in suicide risk assessment and intervention for healthcare professionals and gatekeepers. Methods. We conducted a systematic review in Medline and PsycINFO up to 31 July 2021 of randomized controlled trials (RCTs), non-randomized controlled trials, and pre/post-test studies. RCTs were furthermore included in a meta-analysis. We assessed the methodological quality of all studies with the Medical Education Research Study Quality Instrument, and the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool 2.0 for RCTs. Primary outcomes were changes in Kirkpatrick criteria: attitudes, skills, knowledge, behaviors, and patient outcomes. Results. We included 96 articles representing 43,656 participants. Most pre/post-test (n = 65) and non-randomized controlled (n = 14) studies showed significant improvement in attitudes, skills, knowledge, and behaviors. The meta-analysis of 11 RCTs showed positive changes in attitudes immediately after training and at 2–4 months post-training; in self-perceived skills at 6 months post-training; but not in factual knowledge. Studies assessing benefits for patients are still limited. Conclusions. The heterogeneity of methodological designs, interventions, and trained populations combined with a limited number of RCTs and studies on patients’ outcomes limit the strength of the evidence. However, preliminary findings suggest that simulation is promising for practical training in suicidal crisis intervention and should be further studied.