The Allyson Rose Green Memorial Foundation
Supporting Research and Programs
to Prevent Adolescent Suicide
 
Secondary School Staff Training Can Save Lives
        
    Programs to train school personnel as gatekeepers are based on the premise that suicidal youths are underidentified and that we can increase identification by providing adults with knowledge about suicide. Only 9% of a national random sample of U.S. high school teachers believed they could recognize a student at risk for suicide, and while the overwhelming majority of counselors knew the risk factors for suicide, only one in three believed they could identify a student at risk (King et al., 1999).
       
    The purpose of gatekeeper training is to develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills to identify students at risk, determine the levels of risk, and make referrals when necessary (Garland and Zigler, 1993; Kalafat and Elias, 1995). Research examining the effectiveness of gatekeeper training is limited, but the findings are encouraging, with significant improvements in school personnel’s knowledge, attitudes, intervention skills, preparation for coping with a crisis, referral practices (Garland and Zigler, 1993; King and Smith, 2000; Mackesy-Amiti et al., 1996; Shaffer et al., 1988; Tierney, 1994), and general satisfaction with the training (Nelson, 1987).
 
Gould, et al., Youth Suicide Risk and Preventive Interventions: A Review of the Past 10 Years  J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 42:4, (April 2003)