Evaluation of the Commitment to Living (CTL) curriculum: a 3-hour training for mental health professionals to address suicide risk

Crisis. 2012 Jan 1;33(1):30-8. doi: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000099.


Background: Finding effective and efficient options for training mental health professionals to assess and manage suicide risk is a high priority.

Aims: To test whether an innovative, brief workshop can improve provider knowledge, confidence, and written risk assessment in a multidisciplinary sample of ambulatory and acute services professionals and trainees.

Methods: We conducted a pre/post evaluation of a 3 h workshop designed to improve clinical competence in suicide risk assessment by using visual concept mapping, medical records documentation, and site-specific crisis response options. Participants (N = 338 diverse mental health professionals) completed pre- and postworkshop questionnaires measuring their knowledge and confidence. Before and after the workshop, participants completed documentation for a clinical vignette. Trained coders rated the quality of risk assessment formulation before and after training.

Results: Participants' knowledge, confidence, and objectively-rated documentation skills improved significantly (p < .001), with large effect sizes. Participants' expectation of their ability to transfer workshop content to their clinical practice was high (mean = 4.10 on 1-5 scale).

Conclusions: Commitment to Living is a promising, innovative, and efficient curriculum for educating practicing clinicians to assess and respond to suicide risk. Well-designed, brief, suicide risk management programs can improve clinicians' knowledge, confidence, and skill.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Curriculum
  • Education / methods
  • Education / standards
  • Educational Measurement
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatry / education*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide / psychology
  • Suicide Prevention*
  • Young Adult