Ms Sandra Walsh1, Assoc Prof Martin Jones1, Ms Lee Martinez1
1Department Of Rural Health, University Of South Australia, Whyalla Norrie, Australia
There are well established training programs available to support health and human services professionals working with people vulnerable to suicide. However, little is known about involving people with lived experience in the delivery of suicide prevention training with in regional and remote communities. In 2015, eight suicide prevention training workshops were conducted with health and human services workers. All 248 participants lived and worked in South Australian regional and remote communities. A purposive sub-sample of 24 participants across all eight sites were interviewed after the training. The aim of these interviews was to explore the experiences of health and human services workers of a suicide prevention training program in regional and remote South Australia which included meaningful consumer involvement in the delivery of the training. A thematic analysis of the interviews identified five themes: Consumer is key, It is okay to ask the question, Caring for my community, I can make a difference, and Moving forward. The overall meta-theme was “Consumer involvement in suicide prevention training supports regional communities to look out for people at risk of suicide”. A number of elements have been highlighted to the research team such as the importance of engaging with community to understand their particular needs. The value of providing multi-disciplinary training to multidisciplinary workers in regional and remote communities affords participants the opportunity to come together and discuss community approaches to crucial and delicate topics such as suicide prevention. Online learning and training ‘away from base’ can provide participants with a meaningful educational experience, however training provided in the community offers participants something unique. The authors contend that this kind of training delivery is key to a number of topics that benefit from a whole of community approach.
AssocProf Martin Jones is Project Director: Department of Rural Health. He has worked for over 20 years as a mental health nurse and has conducted research into the physical health of people living with a serious mental illness for several years. Martin is an experienced researcher investigating workforce development, service reform, and widening user access to evidence based treatment and care interventions. Martin has led academic teams internationally in the delivery of educational programs in mental health dimension of physical health problems, extending service user choice, and treatment of disorders. He has advised WHO projects in Russia, Iraq and Serbia.