Suicide prevention training: Improving the attitudes and confidence of rural Australian health and human service professionals
Ferguson, M., Dollman, J., Jones, M., Cronin, K., James, L., Martinez, L., & Procter, N.
Suicide rates are higher in rural and remote areas of Australia compared with major cities.
To evaluate the impact of a brief, community-based suicide prevention educational intervention on the attitudes and confidence of rural South Australian health and human service professionals.
Participants attended a 1-day suicide prevention education program, and completed a survey at four time points: baseline (T1), immediately pretraining (T2), immediately posttraining (T3), and 4-month follow-up (T4). Main outcome measures were self-reported attitudes and confidence when working with people vulnerable to suicide.
A total of 248 people attended the training, with 213 participants completing the survey at T1, 236 at T2, 215 at T3, and 172 at T4. There were significant improvements in 11 of the 14 attitude items between T2 and T3 (immediate change), and between T1 and T4 (maintained change). Further, there were significant improvements in all four confidence items between T2 and T3, and T1 and T4.
Despite the repeated-measures design, findings are limited by the lack of a control group.
Findings extend the international evidence by indicating the value of brief suicide prevention education for improving health and human service professionals’ attitudes and confidence in rural Australia.