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Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

Effectiveness of adolescent suicide prevention e-learning modules that aim to improve knowledge and self-confidence of gatekeepers: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Rezvan Ghoncheh12*, Ad JFM Kerkhof1 and Hans M Koot2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Psychology and the EMGO + Institute for Health and Care Research, Faculty of Psychology and Education, VU University Amsterdam, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2 Department of Developmental Psychology and the EMGO + Institute for Health and Care Research, Faculty of Psychology and Education, VU University Amsterdam, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Trials 2014, 15:52  doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-52

Published: 8 February 2014

Abstract

Background

Providing e-learning modules can be an effective strategy for enhancing gatekeepers’ knowledge, self-confidence and skills in adolescent suicide prevention. The aim of this study was to test the effectiveness of an online training program called Mental Health Online which consists of eight short e-learning modules, each capturing an important aspect of the process of recognition, guidance and referral of suicidal adolescents (12–20 years). The primary outcomes of this study are participant’s ratings on perceived knowledge, perceived self-confidence, and actual knowledge regarding adolescent suicidality.

Methods/Design

A randomized controlled trial will be carried out among 154 gatekeepers. After completing the first assessment (pre-test), participants will be randomly assigned to either the experimental group or the waitlist control group. One week after completing the first assessment the experimental group will have access to the website Mental Health Online containing the eight e-learning modules and additional information on adolescent suicide prevention. Participants in both conditions will be assessed 4 weeks after completing the first assessment (post-test), and 12 weeks after completing the post-test (follow-up). At post-test, participants from the experimental group are asked to complete an evaluation questionnaire on the modules. The waitlist control group will have access to the modules and additional information on the website after completing the follow-up assessment.

Discussion

Gatekeepers can benefit from e-learning modules on adolescent suicide prevention. This approach allows them to learn about this sensitive subject at their own pace and from any given location, as long as they have access to the Internet. Given the flexible nature of the program, each participant can compose his/her own training creating an instant customized course with the required steps in adolescent suicide prevention.

Trial registration

Netherlands Trial Register NTR3625

Keywords:
Adolescents; E-learning; Gatekeepers; Modules; Online; Prevention; Professionals; RCT; Suicide; Training