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Teaching front-line health and voluntary workers to assess and manage suicidal patients

Publication Date
  • *Health Personnel/Ed [Education]
  • *Mental Disorders/Di [Diagnosis]
  • *Mental Disorders/Th [Therapy]
  • *Mental Health Services/Sd [Supply & Distribution]
  • *Suicide/Pc [Prevention & Control]
  • *Suicide/Px [Psychology]
  • *Teaching
  • *Voluntary Workers/Ed [Education]
  • 99283912
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Human
  • Interview
  • Psychological
  • Interviews
  • Male
  • Middle Age
  • Nhs
  • Patient Care Team
  • Problem Solving
  • Psychiatry
  • Questionnaires
  • Role Playing
  • Self Assessment (Psychology)
  • Support
  • Non-U.S.Gov'T
  • Design
  • Education
  • Medicine


BACKGROUND: To devise and evaluate the retention of a new brief training package for non-psychiatrically trained multidisciplinary staff to assess suicide risk and manage suicidal patients, including referral of patients at significant risk to psychiatric staff. METHOD: 8 h of interview skills training, using role play with modelling and video feedback, was taught to 33 health and voluntary workers. Evaluation used a controlled before and after training design. Performance of the interview skills was assessed blindly by raters using predetermined criteria from videotaped role played interviews with actors. Self-rated questionnaires (SIRI-2 and visual analogue scales) were used to assess the clinical skills and confidence respectively of the front-line workers. RESULTS: Suicide risk assessment and management skills such as problem solving, future coping and provision of immediate support were significantly improved at 1 month after training. Training did not significantly improve general interview skills, combating hopelessness nor the removal of lethal weapons. Performance on the SIRI-2 and confidence significantly improved after training. The assessment procedure itself did not improve clinical skills nor confidence. LIMITATIONS: Performance among individual health disciplines was not assessed. Design was not a randomised controlled trial with short follow up and no patient outcome data. CONCLUSIONS: A brief training package is available which is effective in teaching suicide risk assessment and clinical management skills

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