250257 Systematic Development of an Interview Protocol to Examine Suicide Prevention By Clergy

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Joseph O'Neil, MD, MPH , Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
Richard Goldsworthy, MSEd, PhD , Academic Edge, Inc., Bloomington, IN
Daniel Geyer, MPH , Public Health, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
Jodi Hackworth, MPH , Division of Injury Prevention, Indiana State Department of Health, Indianapolis, IN
Lori Lovett, MS , Indiana Violence Prevention Partnership, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
Angela Plank , Indiana Violence Prevention Partnership, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
Marilyn Bull, MD , Developmental Pediatrics, Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, IN
Introduction:Faith leaders may be called upon to minister congregation members contemplating suicide. However, clergy may have limited training, resources, or experience counseling potential suicide victims. Unfortunately, little is known and no research instruments exist. This study developed an interview protocol targeting faith leader suicide prevention activities and needs. Methods:Fifty-one interview questions were developed iteratively through a collaboration of academic, mental health, and faith-based leaders. Questions were further reviewed by an external panel of suicidologists, diverse faith leaders, and mental health leaders. Questions assess demographic data, training, personal experience, faith-specific suicide conceptualization, risk factor identification, and course of action in the presence of a suicidal individual. Clergy were identified from national church contact lists, invited via phone call to participate, and interviews were conducted. Thirty-one clergy from various faith traditions completed the interview and debriefing questions. Results:Faith leaders were enthusiastic about the development of the interview, the topic, and the potential to create educational materials. Participating clergy felt that the questions were appropriate and covered essential topics and captured attitudes and beliefs regarding the issues of religion and suicide. Conclusion:Understanding the experiences and needs of clergy who may serve as “first responders” to potential suicide victims is vital to public health efforts to identify, counsel, and refer to appropriate care those at-increased risk Development of instruments and protocols is the first step toward this understanding. Our results suggest that the protocol is effective, may be useful to others, and should be further refined, validated, and implemented. 1-->

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe Clergy as front-line responders for congregation members contemplating suicide. Describe and use an interview tool to better evaluate clergy training, experience, barriers, and needs regarding counseling congregation members contemplating suicide.

Keywords: Suicide, Faith Community

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Presented and reported on our firearm fatality and injury database, including suicide.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.