ENGAGE is an online gatekeeper training program which will train secondary and higher secondary school teachers to identify, support and refer at-risk adolescents for suicide prevention support in Chhattisgarh, India.


India accounts for a third of suicides globally. India has the highest number of adolescents in the world (approximately 253 million) and suicide is the leading cause of death among older adolescents. The State of Chhattisgarh, with 30.62% indigenous tribal population, has the 2nd highest suicide rate in India with a 0.2% probability of meeting SDG 3.4 target of a one-third reduction in suicides by 2030. 76% of Chhattisgarh’s adolescents (15-19 years) live in rural areas with very poor access to psychosocial services. However, there are no suicide prevention programs in Chhattisgarh. Poor access to psychosocial services coupled with limited resources and the conflict-prone context of Chhattisgarh, requires a low-cost and resource-effective suicide prevention strategy. While gatekeeper training courses are routinely available in high-income countries, there are only few in India. Existing evidence supports the effectiveness of such courses in improving knowledge, attitude & self-efficacy outcomes. Yet, there is little evidence for sustainable long-term behavioral changes in teachers who complete such courses.

How are we addressing the issue?

ENGAGE will co-design, implement & evaluate an online gatekeeper training course to train teachers in secondary & higher secondary schools across 3 rural districts of Chhattisgarh to prevent adolescent suicides and attempted suicides. The project will adopt a human-centered and participatory approach by consulting teachers, youth with lived experiences, local experts and civil society organizations for developing the course.

The 15-hour modular course will be delivered in Hindi through a mobile app and will train the gatekeepers (teachers) teaching students in Grade 9, 10, 11 and 12 to identify, support, refer at-risk adolescents and facilitate access to suicide prevention support.

Each of the three districts will be given one distinct approach (variant) of the intervention (the online gatekeeper training program). In the 1st district, teachers will receive only the online training course. In the 2nd district, teachers will receive (a) the online training course and (b) an online refresher training at 3 months follow-up. In the 3rd district, teachers will receive (a) the online training course (b) online refresher training at 3 months follow- up and (c) online mentoring and supervision from the project team.

We will also collect data on the number of teachers practicing as gatekeepers and number of adolescents identified & referred in each of the districts to monitor the outcomes of the program.

What is the potential impact?

Through ENGAGE, we expect that teachers completing the online gatekeeper training program will improve their knowledge, attitudes, skills and confidence to identify, support and refer at-risk adolescents for suicide prevention support.

Trained teachers practicing as gatekeepers will identify, support and refer at-risk adolescents leading to reduced adolescents suicides and attempted suicides.

We will also find out which is the most effective strategy to ensure behavioural change among teachers as gatekeepers.

Where have we reached?

The project is scheduled to begin from 1st April, 2021.