Year: 2023 Source: Psychiatry Investigation. (2023). 20(5), 452-460. SIEC No: 20231314

Objective: North Korean defectors (NKDs) have experienced substantial difficulties during the migration and settlement in South Korea. They have a high prevalence of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and  suicidal behaviors. The high prevalence of mental disorders among NKDs can lead to a high suicide rate. However, there are no suicide prevention programs for NKDs. This study aims to customize a suicide  prevention program with content suitable for NKDs’ particular circumstances.

Methods A multidisciplinary research team developed this program based on domestic and international gatekeeper training programs for suicide prevention and articles related to suicide prevention.

Results We developed a multi-part gatekeeper training program, “Suicide CARE for NKDs.” In the “Introduction,” trainees learn about the need for the program and its importance. In “Careful observation,”  trainees learn to recognize linguistic, behavioral, and situational signals of suicide risk. In “Active listening,” trainees learn how to ask about suicidal thoughts and to listen empathetically. In “Risk evaluation  and  expert referral,” trainees learn to evaluate suicide risk and to connect NKDs with institutes or services.

Conclusion We expect this program to become useful for training gatekeepers to prevent suicide among NKD. A future follow-up study is needed to confirm the efficacy of the program.