Preventing suicide through improved training in suicide risk assessment and care: An American Association of Suicidology Task Force unabridged report addressing serious gaps in U.S. mental health training

Date: 2012
(For resources, this is the publication date. For programs, this is the date posted.)


Type:  Guidelines/Recommendations
Author:  Schmitz, W. M., Allen, M. H., Feldman, B. N., Gutin, N. J., Jahn, D. R., Kleespies, P. M., ... & Simpson, S.
Publisher:  American Association of Suicidology

Developed by the Clinical Taskforce of the American Association of Suicidology, the Preventing Suicide through Improved Training in Suicide Risk Assessment and Care recommendations provides support for increased suicide risk assessment and management training and certification requirements for mental health and other service-related professionals. The Taskforce made following general recommendation and five specific recommendations:

General Recommendation: A summit comprised of national leaders in mental health should be convened to formulate plans for implementing the following recommendations.
1.Accrediting organizations must include suicide-specific education and skill acquisition as part of their requirements for post-baccalaureate degree program accreditation.
2.State licensing boards must require suicide-specific continuing education as a requirement for the renewal of every mental health professional’s license.
3.State and federal legislation should be enacted requiring healthcare systems and facilities receiving state or federal funds to show evidence that mental health professionals in their systems have had explicit training in suicide risk detection, assessment, management, treatment, and prevention.
4.Accreditation and certification bodies for hospital and emergency department settings must verify that staff members have the requisite training in assessment and management of suicidal patients.
5.Individuals without appropriate graduate or professional training and supervised experience should not be entrusted with the assessment and management of suicidal patients.

Program Objectives:

Those who read the recommendations will have increased:
1.Understanding of the importance of professional training for suicide risk assessment and management, and methods of increasing such professional training


Settings:  Health Care, Behavioral Health Care, Outpatient Mental Health, Inpatient Mental Health
Planning and Implementing:  Education and Training
Strategies:  Effective Care/Treatment