safeTALK Research and Evaluation

Evaluation of safeTALK Training in a Convenience Sample of 500 Niagara Health Region Residents, Health Professionals and Volunteers, 2015
Conducted by the Niagara Suicide Prevention Coalition and Distress Centre Niagara, this study discovered that over 90% of participants felt “mostly prepared” or “well prepared” to ask someone about suicide after attending safeTALK, whereas less than 50% felt this way beforehand. In summary, the researchers wrote: “The resounding feedback was that those undertaking the training found it extremely useful if not for themselves, then for others (especially young people and general lay groups).”

A Review of Operation Life Suicide Awareness Workshops: Report to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, 2012
Conducted by the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, among others, this study found “…real and substantial improvements following safeTALK in (participants’) perceptions of their capabilities in dealing with a person who may be considering suicide and that these improvements did not deteriorate over a three-month period” (p. 43). Participants included veterans, veteran family members and veteran support providers. 

Preventing Suicides in the Toronto Subway System: A Program Evaluation, 2011
From the University of Toronto, this dissertation examined the impact of safeTALK and one other training program among transit workers, including constables, train operators, supervisors and others.  The author found increased “knowledge of suicide and suicidal behavior, enhanced positive attitudes toward the suicidal individual, suicide intervention, and improved intervention skills” (p. ii) through the use of both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Evaluation of suicide awareness programmes delivered to veterinary undergraduates and academic staff, 2010
Published in the journal Veterinary Record, this study found that safeTALK increased the likelihood that veterinary students would recognize signs of suicide risk, ask about suicide, and connect someone at risk with help. 

Evaluation of the Scottish safeTALK Pilot, 2007
Conducted by researchers from the Scottish Development Centre for Mental Health, this study focused on the use of safeTALK among a variety of audiences including mental health, physical health, education, law enforcement and corrections. The study found high levels of satisfaction and increased skills and confidence to intervene with someone at risk for suicide.

Additional Reading