Effectiveness of depression-suicidal behaviour gatekeeper training among police officers in three European regions: outcomes of the Optimising Suicide Prevention Programmes and Their Implementation in Europe (OSPI-Europe) study

Ella Arensman*, Claire Coffey, Eve Griffin, Chantal Van Audenhove, Gert Scheerder, Ricardo Gusmao, Susana Costa, Celine Larkin, Nicole Koburger, Margaret Maxwell, Fiona Harris, Vita Postuvan, Ulrich Hegerl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Gatekeeper training for community facilitators, to identify and respond to those at risk of suicide, forms an important part of multi-level community-based suicide prevention programmes. 

Aims: This study examined the effects of gatekeeper training on attitudes, knowledge and confidence of police officers in dealing with persons at risk of suicide. 

Methods: A total of 828 police officers across three European regions participated in a 4-hour training programme which addressed the epidemiology of depression and suicidal behaviour, symptoms of depression, warning signs and risk factors associated with suicidal behaviour, motivating help-seeking behaviour, dealing with acute suicidal crisis and informing bereaved relatives. Participants completed internationally validated questionnaires assessing stigmatising attitudes, knowledge about depression and confidence in dealing with suicidal persons pre- and post-training. 

Results: There were significant differences among countries in terms of previous exposure to suicidal persons and extent of previous training. Post-training evaluation demonstrated significant improvements in stigmatising attitudes, knowledge and confidence in all three countries. 

Conclusion: The consistently positive effects of gatekeeper training of police officers across different regions support inclusion of this type of training as a fundamental part of multi-level community-based suicide prevention programmes and roll-out, nationally and internationally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-660
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Social Psychiatry
Volume62
Issue number7
Early online date19 Sep 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • community
  • depression
  • gatekeeper training
  • police
  • prevention
  • suicide

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