Julie M. Pullen
Montana State University, USA
Julie Pullen holds a DNP from Concordia University Wisconsin, a Master’s of Science in Nursing and Counseling Psychology. She practiced full-time as a Family Nurse Practitioner before completing a post-master’s certification in geriatrics. She is a certified geriatric nurse practitioner. Her doctoral project, focusing on suicide prevention in long-term care, was published in a geriatric journal. She currently serves on a community suicide prevention coalition and educates Montana State University faculty, staff, and students in suicide prevention gatekeeper training.
Gatekeeper training remains fundamental to broad suicide prevention strategies on international, national, and state levels within the U.S. Among articles reviewed, gatekeeper training was found, with few exception, to be both beneficial and feasible to varying degrees. This study describes outcomes of gatekeeper training implemented in a community located in a rural northwestern state ranking among the highest for suicide. The aim of this multi-method study was twofold: Examine outcomes of an evidence-based suicide prevention gatekeeper training program entitled Question-Persuade-Refer adopted by one community at-large, and develop recommendations guiding future population-based interventions for the area. Data were collected utilizing pre- post-survey questionnaires administered from January, 2013 through September, 2016. Participants were from churches, social services, public health, mental health, a suicide prevention conference, a school, college, and a university (n = 897). The quantitative results were statistically significant (p < 0.0001). The most significant improvements from pre- to post-training were how to ask about suicide, how to persuade the person to receive help, and information about local resources. From the qualitative data, two main themes consistent across cohorts that emerged were ‘appreciation’ and ‘desire’ or ‘need’ to learn more. Overall, results were consistent with other studies suggesting that a public health approach to suicide prevention shows promise in terms of increasing awareness and perceived knowledge and ability to intervene. Findings may be relevant to other rural communities where access to mental health services are limited, however it remains unclear if gatekeeper training impacts suicide rates