Improving public health practice in suicide prevention through online training: A case example
Deborah M. Stone(1), Catherine W. Barber(1), Marc Posner(2)
(1)Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA and (2)Education Development Center, Inc. Newton, Massachusetts, USA
Internet and Suicide. Hauppauge, New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2009, 452 pages.
Suicide is a serious public health problem and training in suicide prevention has lagged behind the recent growth in the field. Using the National Center for Suicide Prevention Training (NCSPT), a federally-funded project developed in collaboration between the Harvard Injury Control Research Center and Education Development Center, Inc., as a case example, this article describes how the Internet has assisted in bringing training in suicide prevention up to speed. Using a public health framework of prevention, NCSPT offers an online workshop series for professionals, individuals, and community groups interested in suicide prevention. To date, more than 4,000 users from across the country and from many countries outside the U.S. have accessed the online courses. The broad context underlying NCSPT’s development along with particular aspects of the project’s evolution is included. Evaluation results gathered from January 2007 to August 2008 highlight the knowledge gains resulting from the online workshops and provide information about who is accessing the online series and for what purpose or reason. Concluding remarks about the benefits of online training, the future development of NCSPT, and ideas for research to better optimize the Internet in suicide prevention are offered.