Evaluation of a project to raise community awareness of suicide risk among older men

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Bartlett, H, Travers, C & Cartwright ,CM 2008, 'Evaluation of a project to raise community awareness of suicide risk among older men', Journal of Mental Health, vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 1-10.

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Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of a population-based strategy designed to raise awareness in the community, in all regions of Queensland, Australia, about the nature and extent of suicide by older men and to provide preventive strategies. Method: Trained presenters conducted information and skills training sessions in all Queensland regions in 2001 – 2002. The evaluation included a questionnaire and post-session evaluation form which participants were invited to complete. Approximately 6 months following attendance at a session, a sub-set of participants were further surveyed by postal questionnaire. Results: Approximately 3016 persons attended an information session and participants' responses revealed that a large proportion had either been personally bereaved by suicide (20%) or knew someone who had been so bereaved (58%). Evaluation immediately following the session found that the majority of respondents considered that the session had been useful (88%) and most (90%) reported that the session had enhanced their understanding of risk factors for suicide by older men. Conclusion: The information kit and presentations developed for use in the project appear to be useful tools for presenting sensitive material and encouraging people to discuss suicide. The use of existing community resources ensured that the project was highly cost-effective and sustainable.

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