The crisis level in the worldwide suicide rate has revealed a severe suicide problem in Taiwan that is now well above the world average of 16 per 100000 individuals. Many countries have relied on suicide care volunteers training programmes to conduct suicide prevention programmes. However, there is a dearth of research evaluating the effect of volunteers on psychological distress and the impact of volunteer experience level. An evaluation of the impact of experienced and novice volunteers in alleviating psychological distress of suicide survivors was conducted. A supervised programme trained 15 volunteers at Years 1 and 2. Year 1 volunteers completed 400h of service with continuing education. Programme evaluation occurred after Year 2 volunteers had completed training. Eighty-two suicide survivors were recruited. With 60 suicide survivors completing 3 month of volunteer care, a significant group difference with time interaction in suicide survivors who exhibited moderate to severe distress between the veteran care and novice care groups was found. Compared with novice volunteers, veteran volunteers with at least 1 year of experience are more effective with suicide survivors reporting higher psychological distress.
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