News & Announcements

Suicide Prevention Toolkit for Rural Primary Care

Posted: February 28, 2013

Suicidal patients often visit their primary care providers just days or weeks before taking their lives. This fact suggests that the primary care setting would present an excellent opportunity for suicide prevention. However, another issue is that rural primary care providers face significant challenges to suicide prevention, such as the demands of a fast paced practice, poor access to mental health services, and stigma.  Stigma and discrimination regarding mental health are pervasive in many rural areas, and efforts to treat behavioral health problems may not be supported.

This Web-based Toolkit contains information and tools to implement state-of-the art suicide prevention practices and overcome the significant hurdles this life-saving work faces in primary care practices. The Toolkit offers the support necessary to establish the primary care provider as one member of a team, fully equipped to reduce suicide risk among its patients.  The tools will help you assess patients’ risk of suicide, plan interventions, and create safety plans.  These tools include a template for developing partnerships with mental health providers; pocket guides for assessment, intervention, and safety plan development; and tips for billing and gathering state-specific information.  There are also posters for display in your office, schools, and churches; wallet cards listing warning signs for suicide; and the number of the national crisis line.

The Toolkit is a collaborative project of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) and the Western Interstate Commission of Higher Education (WICHE), Mental Health Program.  Although the tools are designed with the rural practice in mind, most are quite suitable for use in non-rural settings as well.

Access the toolkit online.

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