TOPIC 45: DEVELOPMENT OF A SUICIDE PREVENTION TRAINING CURRICULUM FOR JUSTICE SYS
This proposal provides for an enhancement of the Phase I core curriculum to include information on specific sociodemographic groups (women, minorities, elders, juveniles), issues relevant to myriad legal practice settings (domestic violence), and those sui cides which leave a wake of pain and suffering for communities and families, murder-suicides. Furthermore, the curriculum will address the ethical conflicts suicide and mental health awareness presents attorneys in their case deliberations. As such, the cu rriculum will target attorneys and administrative law clerks (as a secondary means of also reaching judges) and pretrial services staff in the criminal and civil court systems. The final curriculum will be packaged into both an instructor-led continuing le gal education (CLE) program and a web-based CLE program. Since CLE credits are a requirement of all new and experienced attorneys in 41 states, including mandatory credits in the ethics and professionalism topic area in many states, this commercial mechani sm has the potential to reach the target population through multiple modalities at a national level. Goals for participants in the Phase II curriculum include the ability to: Recognize the symptomatic and behavioral indicators of suicide risk Accurately id entify individuals "at-risk" for suicide based on this knowledge, applying behavioraland situational indicators to assist in making this determination Make appropriate and judicious referrals to qualified mental health personnel for screening andassessment of those individuals identified as being "at-risk" for suicide Understand the ethical issues present when confronted with possible suicide risk Recognize additional needs and considerations when dealing with special situations such as domestic violence an d murder-suicide A rigorous research evaluation of the enhanced core curriculum and its modular components, including two Beta-1 and six Beta-2 national multi-site pilot tests, will be conducted. For both sets of tests, evaluation plans have been developed to assess the impact and effectiveness of the training, selection methodology, and diversity within the composition of training participants. In addition, the final curriculum will be integrated into existing curricula in law schools and a learning transf er evaluation at three test sites, similar to the Beta Test evaluation, will also be conducted. The law school implementation and evaluation is included as a method by which emerging professionals in the criminal and civil court systems may be targeted for early training prior to their entry into the court system. To build community capacity to further evaluate the effectiveness of such prevention efforts beyond the scope of the Phase II effort, this proposal also includes a community-based participatory re search capacity strategy that piggy-backs on an already existing NIMH-funded initiative to enhance the quality and number of junior research faculty who focus on suicide. This R25 grant will dedicate two suicide research institutes to providing an opportun ity for key community stakeholders to partner with academicians to assess the impact of suicide prevention in their communities across broad nontraditional mental health strategies. The proposed Phase II project is one that has the potential for having a s ignificant national impact. The potential for this project to have a significant impact on public health is paramount, as is its potential to act as a vehicle for creating, facilitating and integrating successful community partnerships .
* information listed above is at the time of submission.