Arensman E, Coffey C, Griffin E, Audenhove Cv, Sheerder G, Gusmao R, Costa S, Larkin C, Koburger N, Maxwell M, Harris FM, Postuvan V & Hegerl U (2016) 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. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 62 (7), pp. 651-660. https://doi.org/10.1177/0020764016668907
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.
This study examined the effects of gatekeeper training on attitudes, knowledge and confidence of police officers in dealing with persons at risk of suicide.
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 posttraining.
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.
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.
Gatekeeper training; suicide; depression; police; community; prevention
International Journal of Social Psychiatry: Volume 62, Issue 7