Suicide is a leading cause of death among Japanese college and university students. Our previous study showed that the gatekeeper training (GKT) program significantly improved competence and confidence in the management of suicidal students in university administrative staff. However, we could not determine which component of the program was effective, nor if this program was effective for university teachers as well. In the current study, 81 university teachers were recruited; 63 of them received a general mental health lecture (MHL) and 18 of them received a 2.5 -h GKT program based on the Mental Health First Aid program. Competence and confidence in managing suicide intervention and behavioral intention as a gatekeeper were assessed by a self-report questionnaire before and immediately after the intervention. As a result, we found a significant improvement in competence in the management of suicidal students in the GKT group compared to the MHL group. We also found significant improvements in confidence in the management of suicidal students and behavioral intention as gatekeepers in the GKT group, although the questionnaires for these outcomes were not validated. The program satisfaction score was significantly higher in the GKT group than in the MHL group. To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate a GKT program for university teachers in Japan. By comparing the two groups, we explicitly confirmed that active involvement of the participants is crucial for effective suicide prevention training.
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