Gatekeeper Trainings


Samaritans of Merrimack Valley offers two free, Department of Public Health-funded trainings for “gatekeepers” to reduce the incidence of suicide among 1) people ages 55 and older and 2) middle aged men.  Gatekeepers are people who, through their personal, professional or volunteer activities, have regular contact with older adults or middle aged men.

Attendees will learn how to recognize the risk factors, warning signs, and protective factors for suicide as well as how to talk with an individual at risk. We also provide resources so that at-risk individuals can get the help they need. The training consists of a power point presentation, handouts, vignettes, small group exercises, role playing and group discussions.

After the training, participants are able to assess suicide risk, intervene with an individual at risk, and connect people with ongoing professional help.

For more information about our Gatekeeper Trainings or the Connect Suicide Prevention Project, please complete the contact form or call Samaritans’ Director Debbie Helms at 978-327-6671.

Gatekeepers of Older Adults

As a nationally-designated Best Practice Suicide Prevention Training, this Gatekeeper training is eight hours in length and can be provided in one 8-hour session or two four-hour segments. Trainings can be held on site at interested organizations. Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) are available for nurses, social workers, and Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs) for 6.5 hours.

Suicide and Aging: A Gatekeeper Workshop

We also offer a four hour gatekeeper training which is also a Best Practice Program. This training is geared toward a non-clinical audience and provides information on recognizing the risk and protective factors of suicide and how to talk with someone at risk. This training is particularly suited to care givers, Meals on Wheels staff, administrative and transport staff, housekeepers, etc. This workshop is approved for 3.5 Social Work CEU’s.

Gatekeepers of Middle Age Men

This two hour training is a free, Department of Public Health-funded training for clinicians to reduce the incidence of suicide among men ages 35-64. We offer this training statewide. After the training, participants will be able to identify risk and protective factors and warning signs, ask questions about suicide risk, develop a safety plan and provide middle aged men with resources. 2 CEUs are available for social workers, nurses, Licensed Mental Health Counselors and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors.

Connect Suicide Prevention Project

The Samaritans of Merrimack Valley is pleased to provide the Connect Suicide Prevention training through a collaborative effort with NAMI NH, the Mass. Coalition for Suicide Prevention (MSCP), the MSCP Northeast Regional Coalition, and the MA Department of Public Health.

Connect is designated as a National Best Practice Program* and trains professionals and community members to prevent and respond effectively to suicide across the lifespan. Connect’s curriculum includes how to identify suicide warning signs and intervene with a person at risk.  Building on that foundation, Connect focuses on the community as a whole and how to work across systems to build a safely net for people at risk. A second day optimizes the training by facilitating the development of a suicide prevention plan that is unique to each community’s culture and needs.

This project has been implemented with great success in Haverhill and many other communities throughout the state. To date, we have trained over 2,500 participants including parents, teachers, police, clergy, physicians and more. We have also trained 21 Master Trainers.

*Best practice designation from the National Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC). This training is a trademark of NAMI NH.