Year: 2023 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. (2021), 51(2), 325-333. SIEC No: 20230078
Objective Many public health approaches to suicide prevention emphasize connecting at-risk individuals to professional treatment. However, it is unclear to what degree the outpatient mental health workforce has the requisite knowledge and skills to provide the evidence-based care needed to help those at risk. In this project, prior to the implementation of a statewide suicide prevention initiative, we assessed the baseline suicide prevention training and clinical practices of the New York State outpatient mental health workforce, a group likely representative of the broader U.S. clinical workforce. Method A workforce survey of suicide prevention training and clinical practices was administered to 2,257 outpatient clinicians, representing 169 clinics serving approximately 90,000 clients. Clinicians were asked to complete the survey online, and all responses were confidential. Results Clinicians reported substantial gaps in their suicide prevention knowledge and training. The vast majority reported moderate self-efficacy working with suicidal clients and endorsed using evidence-based assessment procedures, but varied in utilization of recommended intervention practices. Conclusions This study highlights gaps in clinicians' training and clinical practices that need to be overcome to provide evidence-based suicide care. Promisingly, positive associations were found between training and clinician knowledge, self-efficacy, and use of evidence-based practices.