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Virtual Role-Players Help Teach Healthcare Providers How to Prevent Suicides
[August 03, 2022]

Virtual Role-Players Help Teach Healthcare Providers How to Prevent Suicides

COLUMBIA, Md., Aug. 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Over 45,900 people died from suicide in 2020. To help health-care providers reduce the number of suicides, SIMmersion created training systems featuring realistic virtual role-players who are at risk. 

Introduction: Suicide is often preventable. One study found that more than 80% of people who died by suicide saw a healthcare provider within a year of their death. So, how can providers help patients who are thinking of suicide? SIMmersion partnered with the Education Development Center and the Institute for Family Health to develop a series of interactive role-play simulations to improve their suicide intervention training. This team turned evidence-based methods into realistic practice opportunities where providers build skills without risking patient safety. The skills built include assessing the patient, motivating them to go into treatment, and safety planning. 

Assessments: Every person who experiences suicidal ideation is different. The first step is to understand their life and how it is being impacted by thoughts of suicide. 

Role-Player Taye Banks is a fictional patient who is thinking of suicide and needs to be assessed. Learners practice talking with her to learn about her life, thoughts of suicide, triggers and what's preventing her from making an attempt. For each new conversation, the training system randomly selects a different combination of her condition to help providers gain experience helping different patients. 

Motivating to Treatment: Not every patient who experiences thoughts of suicide wats treatment, and the ones who do may think they cannot get care because of money or time. Motivational Interviewing can be used to help guide a patient toward change by exploring their reasons for and against change. 

Role-Player Katrina Sanderson is a fictional patient who is considering seeking treatment for her thoughts of suicide. Learners practice talking with Katrina about the option of therapy and her barriers to seeking treatment. Following the conversation, they receive feedback on how well they reflected Katrina's thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

Safety Planning: A safety plan is a list of coping skills that an individual can use to keep themself safe when they start thinking about suicide. Research shows that high-quality safety plans reduce the likelihood of hospitalization for people thinking about suicide.

Role-Player Henry Douglas is a fictional patient who has been thinking about suicide a few times each week. Learners practice helping Henry create a plan that will work for him. Each time the conversation starts, the simulation will randomly select a list of coping strategies Henry will be willing to discuss and how effective they may be for him. 

Remarks: These three training systems provide comprehensive training for healthcare providers. Learners can access these systems, complete with written materials and real-time feedback, any time at Supervisors and administrators can assign training, track learner progress, and compile reports using SIMmersion's custom learning management system (LMS)


Dale Edward Olsen
+1 443-745-5754
[email protected]

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