Journal of Behavioral Health and Psychology. 2023; 12(3):(333-340)


Evaluation of a Brief Training of Police Constables in Recognizing Suicidal Behaviour in Lagos, Nigeria

Olushola Olibamoyo, Azizat Lebimoyo, Tunde Adegbite.

Abstract
Background: Given the high frequency with which police officers encounter people challenged by mental health issues, including those at risk for suicide, a well-trained police force has the potential to play an important role in community-based suicide awareness and mental health prevention.

 

Objectives: This paper addresses the need to understand the effects of brief suicide intervention training for police constables on the participant’s knowledge about suicide, self-rated confidence in enquiring about suicidal behaviours, and their attitudes towards suicidal behaviours.

 

Methods: A quasi-experimental design was employed to examine the changes from pretest to post-tests with participants acting as their controls. Participants included 289 police constables who attended a 90-minute training and completed self-report surveys. The training included both didactic and experiential components. Paired t-test was used to compare means on variables across the pre-training and post-training. The significance level was set at ≤ 0.05. 

Results: Although the training program was brief, significant improvement in perceived knowledge, t (288) = 3.45, p < .001; self-confidence to prevent suicide, t (288) = 3.5, p < .001, and attitudes toward suicidal patients were observed immediately after training t (288) = 4.6, p < .001. 

Conclusion: The role of police officers as gatekeepers in suicide prevention is essential and often underestimated. A competent appearance and knowledge of suicidality can promote adequate interaction with those affected.

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