Evaluation of benefit to patients of training mental health professionals in suicide guidelines: cluster randomised trial
Randomised studies examining the effect on patients of training professionals in adherence to suicide guidelines are scarce.
To assess whether patients benefited from the training of professionals in adherence to suicide guidelines.
In total 45 psychiatric departments were randomised (Dutch trial register: NTR3092). In the intervention condition, all staff in the departments were trained with an e-learning supported train-the-trainer programme. After the intervention, patients were assessed at admission and at 3-month follow-up. Primary outcome was change in suicide ideation, assessed with the Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation.
For the total group of 566 patients with a positive score on the Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation at baseline, intention-to-treat analysis showed no effects of the intervention on patient outcomes at 3-month follow-up. Patients who were suicidal with a DSM-IV diagnosis of depression (n = 154) showed a significant decrease in suicide ideation when treated in the intervention group. Patients in the intervention group more often reported that suicidality was discussed during treatment.
Overall, no effect of our intervention on patients was found. However, we did find a beneficial effect of the training of professionals on patients with depression.