Preventing suicide in post-secondary students: a scoping review of suicide prevention programs

Melissa H. Black, Melissa Scott, Elliot Baker-Young, Craig Thompson, Sarah McGarry, Maya Hayden-Evans, Zelma Snyman, Frank Zimmermann, Viktor Kacic, Torbjorn Falkmer, Marcel Romanos, Sven Bölte, Sonya Girdler, Benjamin Milbourn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Suicide among students enrolled in post-secondary education, including university or college, is a major public health concern. Previous research has examined the effectiveness of suicide prevention programs for this population. However, the effective elements of these interventions remain unknown. This study reviewed the literature on suicide prevention programs for post-secondary students, exploring and identifying those elements likely contributing to their effectiveness. A scoping review process was undertaken exploring suicide prevention programs for post-secondary students. Methodological quality of the articles was assessed, and content analysis was used to explore the programs and their effective elements. Twenty seven articles were included in this review, covering a variety of approaches. Gatekeeper training programs were the most common type of suicide prevention program. Programs for post-secondary students may be effective in improving student rates of engagement with mental health services and were associated with greater knowledge, and help-seeking attitudes and behaviors, and gatekeeper-related outcomes. While evidence was found supporting the effectiveness of some interventions such as gatekeeper programs to influence suicide-related knowledge, attitudes and behaviour, further and more rigorous research surrounding suicide prevention programs for post-secondary students is required, with a particular emphasis on student outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Aug 2021


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