ConNetica Consulting, in collaboration with OzHelp Foundation and Dr Martin Harris from University of Tasmania developed and commenced delivery of the training program Strengthened for life in 2016. Strengthened for life® is a one-day suicide prevention training program that aims to increase participants’ skills, knowledge and willingness to engage with and support individuals who are at imminent risk of suicide. Key program elements include information and related activities on:
• up to date information on suicide rates in Australia
• signs and risks factors relating to the incidence of suicide
• identification of the way personal values and stigma:
• impact one’s support for people at imminent risk of suicide, and
• at risk individuals’ willingness to “reach out” and seek support
• contemporary theories underpinning suicide
• strategies that underpin effective support for people who are suicidal
• practical intervention and communication strategies and support services
• strategies to look after one’s well-being when supporting and or interacting with individuals at risk of suicide.
The program includes a range of individual, small group and large group activities, videos, personal reflection and action plans, role plays, theory and evidence.
ConNetica engaged the Centre for Mental Health Research (CMHR) at the Australian National University to undertake this evaluation of the training program. A total of 151 people undertook pre and post course evaluations and the results were analysed by the ANU team. Most importantly, the researchers found results from the Strengthened for Life program were “extremely positive”.
From the Evaluation Report conclusions:
“The assessment of Strengthened for life® demonstrates outstanding results. The attendees were mostly very satisfied with different aspects of the organisation of the course such as the material and the presenter. They mostly thought that the content was relevant, and they did not they experience any distress during the program, and they would recommend the program to others.
“The majority of participants reported a statistically significant increase in their knowledge about the prevention of suicide. Statistically significant improvements in their skills to engage in a conversation to reduce the suicide risk of a person, including knowing when the conversation is required, to find the right moment, to initiate the conversation, help the another person express their thoughts and feelings, to adopt a respectful approach, to follow practical steps and take action if needed and, finally, to refer the person for help were also evident. Moreover, most participants were willing to engage in the conversation, to work out the practical steps learnt and take action if needed, and to refer the person for help.
“The scope for improvement of Strengthened for life® course is reduced since the results of the assessment were extremely positive.”