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

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2012 Jun;42(3):292-304. doi: 10.1111/j.1943-278X.2012.00090.x. Epub 2012 Apr 11.


There are twice as many suicides as homicides in the United States, and the suicide rate is rising. Suicides increased 12% between 1999 and 2009. Mental health professionals often treat suicidal patients, and suicide occurs even among patients who are seeking treatment or are currently in treatment. Despite these facts, training of most mental health professionals in the assessment and management of suicidal patients is surprisingly limited. The extant literature regarding the frequency with which mental health professionals encounter suicidal patients is reviewed, as is the prevalence of training in suicide risk assessment and management. Most importantly, six recommendations are made to address the longstanding insufficient training within the mental health professions regarding the assessment and management of suicidal patients.

MeSH terms

  • Advisory Committees*
  • Curriculum
  • Humans
  • Mental Health / education*
  • Professional Competence
  • Risk Assessment* / methods
  • Societies
  • Suicide / prevention & control*
  • United States