Suicide Gatekeeper Training and Self-Efficacy among College and University Faculty

May 24, 2019
News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark Research

Formal training for college and university faculty can increase their confidence in assisting students at risk for suicide. However, many report having received no formal training in suicide prevention.

Researchers received 507 surveys from full-time faculty at randomly selected institutions of higher education across the U.S. Respondents provided information on demographics, perceived self-efficacy (i.e., confidence) in their ability to identify students at risk for suicide, belief that their actions would reduce suicide risk, and knowledge of their school’s policies on suicide intervention. Respondents also reported whether they had received any formal or informal training in suicide prevention.

The study found that most respondents (64.3%) felt that it is the role of college and university professors to identify students at risk for suicide. At the same time, many respondents (31.7%) had never received any formal training in suicide prevention. Compared to those without any formal training, those who had received formal training reported higher confidence in assisting students at risk.

Well-trained faculty can play an important role in assisting college students at risk for suicide. More training is needed to increase faculty confidence in interacting with students at risk.

Sylvara, A. L., & Mandracchia, J. T. (2019). An investigation of gatekeeper training and self-efficacy for suicide intervention among college/university faculty. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000577