Evaluation of benefit to patients of training mental health professionals in suicide guidelines: cluster randomised trial

Br J Psychiatry. 2016 May;208(5):477-83. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.114.156208. Epub 2015 Dec 17.


Background: Randomised studies examining the effect on patients of training professionals in adherence to suicide guidelines are scarce.

Aims: To assess whether patients benefited from the training of professionals in adherence to suicide guidelines.

Method: 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.

Results: 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.

Conclusions: 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.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / education*
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Psychiatric Department, Hospital*
  • Suicidal Ideation*