Improving Existing Wellness Initiatives:
Atrium Health

Suicide Prevention Health Care Workforce Guide In Action Suicide Prevention in the Health Care Workforce
Mitigating The Effects Of Job-Related Stressors

Atrium Health currently has over 70,000 employees. Their work with the AHA Suicide Prevention in the Health Care Workforce collaborative has focused on addressing job-related stressors within their system by incorporating suicide prevention training into existing peer support training.

Even before participating in the collaborative, Atrium recognized the importance of increasing awareness around suicide prevention. Because of this, they offer an annual Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) course to staff students, staff and faculty. In conjunction with Atrium health’s work with the AHA Health Care Worker Suicide Prevention Collaborative, QPR training has been integrated into the peer support training already in place to reach more staff. QPR training courses are designed to train “Gatekeepers;” the role of these individuals is to recognize the warning signs of suicide and know how to offer help. The addition of QPR training to the curriculum previously in place provides additional skills and tools that the program previously lacked. The implementation of this program has increased the number of Gatekeepers within the organization who are equipped to recognize a struggling colleague and provide support when needed.

While implementing and continuing this program, the team at Atrium health encountered a few barriers. These included limited leadership support, limited financial resources and competing organizational priorities – barriers echoed by many other organizations involved in the collaborative. One way the team was able to combat these barriers was through collaboration with other organizations participating in the collaborative. Guest presenters offered diverse perspectives, and the small group discussions offered sharing of ideas between systems and the ability to learn from others’ triumphs and failures.

Atrium Health tracked the number of peer supporters who have been trained through the new program. When they joined the Collaborative in February 2023, they had zero peer support trainees who had received QPR training. As of July 2023, over 60 employees have completed the QPR training. Following their training in March, they received feedback from multiple participants; many noted that they were previously unaware of the training and were grateful that it had been brought to their attention.

As Atrium continues this training program, the plan is to develop pre- and post-training surveys to evaluate both knowledge of suicide prevention and the utilization of the knowledge on the peer support team. Based on the results of this survey, they will actively work to improve the program and ensure it is effectively training their employees as Gatekeepers.