Preventing suicide in refugees and asylum seekers: a rapid literature review examining the role of suicide prevention training for health and support staff
by Jessica Ingram, Bronte Lyford, Amanda McAtamney and Sally Fitzpatrick
Published 14 May 2022
Refugees and asylum seekers are exposed to a unique set of circumstances and experiences that are associated with an increased suicide risk, and experience higher suicide rates than the general population. Suicide prevention training has been recognised as a useful early intervention component of a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention. Limited literature exists exploring the role of suicide prevention training for health and support staff working with refugee and asylum seeker consumers, who are well placed to identify mental illness and suicidality in refugee clients.
Research and findings
This paper presents the findings of a rapid literature review exploring the role of suicide prevention training to provide skills, knowledge and confidence to health and support staff working with refugees and asylum seekers as part of a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention.
The rapid literature review identified 14 studies relating to suicide prevention training for health and support staff working with refugees and asylum seekers. Findings of these studies suggest six key components that may enhance the effectiveness of this training in improving staff knowledge, confidence and skills in supporting refugees and asylum seekers experiencing suicidal behaviours and thoughts:
- Inclusion of expert knowledge
- Clinical knowledge to improve screening
- Case studies
- Role play
- Culturally responsive approaches to conversations
- Co-design of training with refugees and asylum seekers to ensure the training reflects and educates on their experiences.
This study suggests the above key components should be included when developing suicide prevention training programs for health and support staff working with refugees and asylum seekers. However, further research is needed to determine the efficacy of refugee and asylum seeker specific suicide prevention training to support an early intervention approach to suicide prevention.