Parent Education for Responding to and Supporting Youth with Suicidal Thoughts (PERSYST): An Evaluation of an Online Gatekeeper Training Program with Australian Parents

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Apr 20;19(9):5025. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19095025.


The gatekeeper training of parents is a promising approach for suicide prevention in young people, but little research has addressed the effectiveness of such training, especially using online delivery. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy and acceptability of the delivery of an online suicide prevention training program, LivingWorks Start, to improve the capacity of parents to support young people at risk of suicide. The participants were 127 parents of young people aged 12-25 who completed the LivingWorks Start training and consented to participate in the evaluation. The participants completed online surveys before, after, and 3 months after training. The participants showed increases in perceived self-efficacy and formal help-seeking intentions, and reductions in suicide stigma, although stigma returned to the baseline three months post-training. Suicide literacy also increased, but only at the three-month follow-up. Most parents found the training acceptable, and did not find it upsetting. Prior mental health, suicide-related experiences, and pre-participation vulnerability were not predictive of finding the training distressing. Overall, the findings show that online gatekeeper training for parents can be beneficial, and is rarely associated with distress.

Keywords: carers; gatekeeper training; online training; parents; suicide prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Australia
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Program Evaluation
  • Suicidal Ideation*
  • Suicide Prevention*
  • Suicide* / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires