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

Richard Morriss, Linda Gask, Lynn Battersby, Anna Francheschini, Mike Robson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)77-83
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
    Issue number1-3
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 1999


    • Accident and emergency
    • Crisis
    • Deliberate self-harm
    • Mental health
    • Nurses
    • Primary care
    • Suicide
    • Training


    Dive into the research topics of 'Teaching front-line health and voluntary workers to assess and manage suicidal patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this