Programme sentinelle : exemple de prévention du suicide auprès d’une population agricole en Suisse [Sentinel program: Example of suicide prevention for an agricultural population in Switzerland]


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Programme sentinelle : exemple de prévention du suicide auprès d’une population agricole en Suisse [Sentinel program: Example of suicide prevention for an agricultural population in Switzerland]
Saillant S., Michaud L., Besson J., Dorogi Y.
0013-7006 (Print)
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Publication types: English Abstract ; Journal Article
Publication Status: ppublish
In the field of suicide prevention, the identification of risk groups is important, as is the training of front-line workers, to raise awareness of suicide issues. Agricultural workers represent a group at high risk of suicidal behavior due to various factors (low income of farmers, work related to climatic conditions, social isolation, poor access to primary care). The main objective of this article is to present the implementation of prevention training in suicide prevention for a population of agricultural workers in two cantons of French-speaking Switzerland (Vaud and Neuchâtel) which represent a population of about 980,000 inhabitants. The second objective is to identify the experiences of the participants in this training and their expectations.
Suicide prevention training sessions are organized in collaboration with public health departments, agriculture departments and suicide prevention professionals. Each session is led by four trainers experienced in suicide prevention and belonging to the "Groupement Romand Prévention du Suicide" (GRPS) which manages the training and other training modules on this topic in French-speaking Switzerland. The GRPS guarantees the content of the training as well as the updating of scientific knowledge. The training model is based on a concept that alternates between brief theoretical contributions, exchanges between participants in plenary sessions and role playing in small groups. The training has two main objectives: on the one hand to work on the participants' representations of suicide and to modify their posture by training "sentinels", i.e. "peers" who can establish a link between suffering individuals and the available support resources. On the other hand, to give key messages: dare to talk about the suicidal question and to not remain alone with this.
Between December 2016 and May 2018, nine sessions were held in the two cantons of Vaud and Neuchâtel with a total of 220 participants. The sessions took place in agricultural schools or buildings related to agriculture. Invited to express themselves on the theme of suicide as well as on the concept of training, agricultural workers all verbalized the importance of this issue and were often very moved when the subject was discussed. The topics addressed by the participants were the taboo aspect of the subject, the difficulty of talking about it and the need to be able to address the subject (breaking the isolation). Participants also highlighted the need for peers to act as relays for help.
The sessions were highly appreciated by the organizers concerned, particularly by the public health and agricultural departments. Participants expressed their satisfaction at the opportunity to express their views on this subject, regretting that such initiatives are all too rare. Although studies highlight the difficulty of emotional expression in the agricultural field, we observed on the contrary a great facility of the participants to express their emotions in relation to the suicidal theme. We have highlighted that the issue of suicide in this population is linked to several causal factors, as is the suicidal issue more broadly. Factors specific to this population emerged from the sessions, including working conditions and difficulties related to the family environment of farmers. There is a need to strengthen suicide prevention with training programs among the agricultural population. We also note the major importance of improving access to mental health care which is often very deficient in rural areas.
Agricultural workers, Formation, Gatekeepers, Population agricole, Prévention du suicide, Sentinelle, Suicide prevention, Training sessions
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Create date
06/02/2020 17:41
Last modification date
15/01/2021 7:08
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