Let's Talk Gatekeeper Training

Date: 2010
(For resources, this is the publication date. For programs, this is the date posted.)


Type:  Program/Practice, Education/Training Program
Organization:  Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Training materials (including PowerPoint slides, trainers’ manual, and handouts) are available at no charge. For more information contact Alan Holmlund, Director of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Suicide Prevention Program at 617-624-5476 or by email at alan.holmlund@state.ma.us.


Alan Holmlund
Massachusets Department of Public Health, Suicide Prevention Program
150 Washington Street, 4th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Voice: 617-624-5476
Email: alan.holmlund@state.ma.us
Website: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/consumer/wellness/injury-prevention/suicide-pr...

The Let’s Talk Gatekeeper Training program provides suicide prevention training to foster parents and other adults who care for children. The two-hour training is largely conducted using PowerPoint; it also includes some interactive lessons. Participants receive several handouts, including: resource lists, risk factor checklists, a bibliography, etc. Additional third-party brochures, fact sheets, and guidelines relating to suicide risk and response are also provided (these, however, were not reviewed). Training content includes:

  • Myths and facts about suicide
  • Risk and protective factors for suicide
  • Warning signs of suicide
  • How to communicate about suicide with at-risk youth
  • How to restrict means
  • How to respond to a suicide crisis

Let’s Talk was developed by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. Training content was developed through a review of the literature, key informant interviews, and a review of other suicide prevention trainings. Pilot trainings were conducted to refine the final product.

Program Objectives

After training, adult caregivers should have:

  1. Increased understanding of the nature and signs of depression and suicidal behavior.
  2. Increased sense of competence and confidence in identifying youth at risk.
  3. Increased capability to respond effectively to a youth in crisis.

Implementation Essentials

  • Training participants should be aware of the limitations of their role in dealing with youth at risk for suicide.
  • Training participants should be aware of available resources and referral protocol for youth at risk for suicide.

2012 NSSP Objectives Addressed: 

Objective 5.3: Intervene to reduce suicidal thoughts and behaviors in populations with suicide risk.
Objective 7.1: Provide training on suicide prevention to community groups that have a role in the prevention of suicide and related behaviors.