The role of social work in suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention: A scoping review

Social workers frequently encounter those affected by suicide. However, the social work voice on suicide has been relatively absent from the literature. This scoping review aimed to map the contribution social work research has made to suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. Two hundred and forty-one papers on suicide authored by social workers were identified. Results […]

Oncologists’, nurses’, and social workers’ strategies and barriers to identifying suicide risk in cancer patients

Objective To identify oncologists’, nurses’, and social workers’ strategies and barriers in identifying suicide risk in cancer patients. Methods Sixty-one oncology healthcare professionals (HCPs) at 2 cancer centers were interviewed. We used the grounded theory method (GT) of data collection and analysis. Analysis involved line-by-line coding, and was inductive, with codes and categories emerging from […]

The role of social work in confronting the farmer suicide crisis: Best practice recommendations and a call to action

Although estimates of prevalence vary, suicide rates among farmers are high and pose an important challenge for mental health policy and practice. The lack of mental health resources in many rural communities is a significant barrier to improving farmer mental health outcomes. The current paper will review (1) current findings related to the psychosocial functioning […]

Efficient, yet effective: Improvements in suicide-related knowledge, confidence, and preparedness after the deployment of a brief online module on suicide in a required MSW course

Although social workers are increasingly likely to encounter suicidal clients in their practice, many are under-prepared to address the issue of suicide, and significant deficiencies in suicide education exist in social work graduate programs. This study examined the acceptability and effectiveness of a brief yet comprehensive online module covering suicide risk assessment and treatment deployed […]

Graduate students’ perceptions of suicide-specific education in an online course

Suicide occurs at alarming rates across the United States and rates are on the rise. The majority of those who attempt suicide report meeting with a medical or mental health provider in the six months prior to their attempt. Graduate programs that prepare social workers need to be prepared to offer adequate training to their […]

Social service directors’ roles and self-efficacy in suicide risk management in US nursing homes

Nursing home (NH) residents have many risk factors for suicide in later life and transitions into and out of NHs are periods of increased suicide risk. The purpose of this study was to describe NH social service directors (SSDs) roles in managing suicide risk and to identify factors that influence self-efficacy in this area. This […]

Social work instructors’ attitudes, beliefs, and practices about teaching suicide content

In 2012, the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention recommended more education in suicide prevention for mental health professionals. This study of social work instructors (N = 225) explored attitudes, beliefs, and feelings toward teaching suicide content in practice courses; the content covered; barriers to teaching about suicide; and desired supports. Overall, instructors were confident and perceived themselves […]

Mental health and social care professionals after a patient suicide: Interrelation between support needed, sought, and received

Metrics Abstract This article investigates the support needed, sought, and received by professionals following a patient suicide. A self-administered questionnaire about the consequences of patient suicide and support issues was completed by 704 professionals. Profiles of support were defined using a 3-dimensional, 8-fold typology based on need for, search for, and sufficiency of support. Stress […]

The occasional evil of angels: Learning from the experiences of Aboriginal peoples and social work

This paper explores how the propensity of social workers to make a direct and unmitigated connection between good intentions, rationale thought and good outcomes forms a white noise barrier that substantially interferes with our ability to see negative outcomes resulting directly or indirectly from our works. The paper begins with outlining the harm experienced by […]

Social work education and training in mental health, addictions and suicide: A scoping review protocol

Introduction Social workers are among the largest group of professionals in the mental health workforce and play a key role in the assessment of mental health, addictions and suicide. Most social workers provide services to individuals with mental health concerns, yet there are gaps in research on social work education and training programmes. The objective of […]

Taking youth suicide prevention to the schools: Pilot evaluation of school-based clinician outcomes and perspectives of a multi-modal program including post-training online consultations for management of ongoing suicide risk

School-based youth-specific suicide prevention and early intervention initiatives are presently underdeveloped. The current study conducted a pilot evaluation of a multi-modal suicide prevention training program for school-based social workers, ‘Management of Youth Suicidality Training for Schools’ (MYSTS). The program comprised a two-day workshop and six fortnightly post-workshop webinar online consultations. Participants were 36 social workers […]

Shadows from the past: The mothering experience of women survivors of maternal suicide

Raising children, while challenging in the best of times, can be more complicated for a woman who lost her own mother during her childhood/adolescent years. This study examines the long-term impact of maternal suicide as evident in the mothering experiences of 12 Israeli women. Findings The participants’ descriptions reveal a constant Sisyphean struggle to move […]

The impact of patient suicide on the professional reactions and practices of mental health caregivers and social workers.

Background: Mental health and social professionals are at high risk of experiencing at least one patient suicide during their career. Aims: This paper investigates the impact of patient suicide on the reactions and working practices of mental health and social professionals. It also examines how such an impact may vary depending on the professionals’ characteristics, […]

Suicidality among trans people in Ontario: Implications for social work and social justice.

While transgender and transsexual (trans) communities have been documented to experience high rates of suicidality, little attention has been paid to how this may vary based on experiences of social injustice. Using survey data from the Trans PULSE Project (n=433), we estimated that suicidal thoughts were experienced by 36% of trans Ontarians over the past […]

Perspectives and appropriateness of suicide prevention gatekeeper training for MSW students.

As the largest provider group of outpatient mental health services, social workers are at the forefront of suicide prevention, yet lack formal education to recognize and respond to client suicide risk. The Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR; Quinnett, 1995) gatekeeper training teaches basic suicide prevention skills, focusing on suicide risk factors, warning signs, and response. […]

You can’t recover from suicide: Perspectives on suicide education in MSW programs.

Suicide is a profound worldwide public health problem that has received increased attention in recent years. The major federal response, the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, calls for more suicide education for mental health professionals, including social workers. Little is known about the amount of suicide education in MSW curricula nationwide. This study presents quantitative […]

Teaching note–Understanding of suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention: Curriculum for MSW students.

The training of social workers in suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention is encouraged as a key feature of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. Despite the acknowledgment that training in suicide and its related behaviors is important, few masterÕs in social work (MSW) programs offer classes dedicated to suicide-related content. This teaching note describes a […]

Allying with the medicine wheel: Social work practice with Aboriginal peoples.

This article uses a Medicine Wheel model, a structural social work framework and an anti-oppression stance, to practice culturally sensitive social work with Aboriginal peoples. The Medicine Wheel model is appropriate when working with many Aboriginal peoples because it considers spirituality important to healing. Using the Medicine Wheel guides the social worker to holistic, balanced […]

The wellness wheel: An Aboriginal contribution to social work.

This contribution to the helping professions focuses on social intervention with the individual. It stems from an Aboriginal philosophy of life which promotes health and wellness through a ‘fully ecological’ and holistic approach based on the Medicine Wheel. Contact us for a copy of this article, or view online at

Suicide prevention in social work education: How prepared are social work students?

Baseline results from a randomized intervention study of the Question, Persuade, and Refer suicide prevention gatekeeper training with 73 advanced masterÕs of social work student interns show suicide knowledge was average, attitudes about suicide prevention were generally neutral, and use of suicide prevention practice skills was low. These results indicate an opportunity for enhancing student […]

Field noteÑdeveloping suicide risk assessment training for hospital social workers: An academic-community partnership.

This article describes 1 large urban pediatric hospital’s partnership with a university to provide suicide assessment and management training within its social work department. Social work administrators conducted a department-wide needs assessment and implemented a 2-session suicide assessment training program and evaluation. Respondents (97.8%) indicated that the training was either helpful or very helpful in […]

Teaching note suicide awareness and prevention workshop for social workers and paraprofessionals.

Social workers and paraprofessionals serve psychiatric populations at high risk for suicide, but may receive little training related to suicidality. This study evaluated a suicide awareness and prevention training workshop for providers working with mentally ill homeless and previously homeless adults. Trainees attended a half day of training, and completed knowledge posttests and training evaluations. […]

School social workers`experiences with youth suicidal behavior: an exploratory study.

No published studies have explored school social workers (SSWs) experiences with, or beliefs and attitudes about, working with suicidal youths at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. The authors surveyed SSWs (N = 399) who were members of the 1 l-state Midwest Council on School Social Workers. Results indicated significant SSW involvement with suicidal […]