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Publication . Article . 2018

Associations of training to assist a suicidal person with subsequent quality of support: results from a national survey of the Australian public

Anthony F. Jorm; Angela Nicholas; Jane Pirkis; Alyssia Rossetto; Nicola J. Reavley;
Open Access
Published: 01 May 2018 Journal: BMC Psychiatry, volume 18 (eissn: 1471-244X, Copyright policy )
Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Background When a person is in severe distress, people in their social network can potentially take action to reduce the person’s suicide risk. The present study used data from a community survey to examine whether people who had received training in how to assist a person at risk of suicide had higher quality intentions and actions to provide support. Methods A national telephone survey was carried out with 3002 Australian adults on attitudes and intentions toward helping someone in severe distress or at risk of suicide as well as actions taken. Participants were asked about their intentions to assist a hypothetical person in a vignette and about any actions they took to assist a family member or friend in distress over the previous 12 months. Participants were also asked whether they had received professional training, Mental Health First Aid training or other training in how to assist a person at risk of suicide. Results Responses covered ten intentions/actions that were recommended in guidelines for the public on how to support a suicidal person and 5 that were recommended against in the guidelines. Scales were created to measure positive and negative intentions to act and positive and negative actions taken. All three types of training were associated with greater positive intentions and actions, and with lesser negative intentions. These associations were largely due to a greater willingness of those trained to talk openly about suicide with a person in distress. Conclusions Training in how to support a person at risk of suicide is associated with better quality of support. Such training merits wider dissemination in the community. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.1186/s12888-018-1722-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: Helping behavior Clinical psychology Vignette Psychology Suicidal ideation medicine.symptom medicine Health education Mental health Mental health first aid First aid Distress

Library of Congress Subject Headings: lcsh:Psychiatry lcsh:RC435-571


Psychiatry and Mental health, Research Article, Suicide, Mental health first aid, Gatekeepers, Adolescent, Adult, Australia, Family, Female, First Aid, Friends, Health Education, Helping Behavior, Humans, Intention, Male, Middle Aged, Suicidal Ideation, Surveys and Questionnaires, Young Adult

Related Organizations
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