Effects of brief training on mental health provider’s knowledge of working with youth at risk of suicide in Guatemala


International Journal of Social Psychiatry, vol.68, no.2, pp.281-287, 2022 (SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 68 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0020764020983860
  • Journal Name: International Journal of Social Psychiatry
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, ASSIA, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Periodicals Index Online, CINAHL, EMBASE, Index Islamicus, MEDLINE, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Psycinfo, Public Affairs Index, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.281-287
  • Keywords: Adolescent mental health, mental healthcare providers, suicide, training effectiveness
  • Süleyman Demirel University Affiliated: Yes


© The Author(s) 2020.Background: Resources for mental healthcare are lacking in Guatemala, yet rates of mental illness and suicide are quite high. Mental healthcare providers often lack the knowledge needed to effectively work with young at-risk of suicide. To address this gap, we developed a training program for mental health professionals focused on increasing knowledge and understanding of engaging and working with youth at risk of suicide and present its acceptability and preliminary effectiveness. Methods: Mental health providers (N = 17) from a low SES community participated in the training, Formacion CUIDAR (Comunidades Unidos para Individuales De Alto Riesgo; CARE Training; Communities United for Individuals at High Risk). Mixed methods were used to explore outcomes including, self-reported knowledge and understanding of warning signs; risk and protective factors; effective risk assessment; and, techniques for working with at-risk youth. Results: Findings indicate that the training was effective at increasing all targeted domains of knowledge (t = 2.46, p <.05, Cohen’s d =.56). Acceptability was also rated as high. Conclusion: Scarcity of mental health specialists and lack of training on suicide assessment and management have resulted in inadequate resources for at-risk youth in need of mental health services in Guatemala. Results of our study demonstrate that our training is an acceptable, effective program for practicing mental health providers to address their lack of specialized training on how to work with individuals at risk of suicide. Further examination of the training in a larger RCT is required to attain more robust indictors of effectiveness and to assess long-term impact.