Shay-Lee Bolton, M.Sc., University of Manitoba
Young Investigator Grant (2009): $84,508
Mentor: Jitender Sareen, M.D., University of Manitoba
Evaluation of a Gatekeeper Training Program as Suicide Intervention Training for Medical Students
Abstract: The main objective of the proposed study is to evaluate the efficacy of a gatekeeper training suicide intervention program, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), in improving medical students’ knowledge about suicide intervention, impact of attitudes on someone at risk for suicide and competent use of intervention skills to recognize risk and intervene effectively compared to medical education as usual. Findings from previous studies have demonstrated a significant positive effect of gatekeeper training on suicide prevention attitudes, skills and knowledge. General studies in medical education reveal that students who have been able to practice, observe and receive feedback in small groups showed an improvement in skills and confidence over those who were given didactic teaching only. This research project will use a randomized-controlled trial design. Questionnaires and objective structured clinical examinations using simulated patients will be completed at three time points: 1) before training, 2) after training and 3) at one year following the training. Medical students’ clinical skills in recognizing risk and intervening with simulated patients, as well as knowledge about suicide intervention and the impact of attitudes on someone at risk for suicide will be evaluated. The current research will indicate whether training in suicide intervention for medical students can increase their ability to detect a suicidal individual and intervene over training as usual. Such training could allow for more efficient detection and management of suicide risk in vulnerable patients, particularly in non-psychiatric settings.