Year: 2013 Source: Social Work.(2011).56(4):327-336. SIEC No: 20130259

Mental health social workers are at increased risk of being confronted with fatal and nonfatal client suicidal behavior (CSB). Research has documented personal and professional reactions to CSB; however, empirical evidence describing the potential long-term effects is scarce. This study examined current reactions of perceived stress and continual thoughts of the CSB in 285 social workers. Results from multiple regression suggested that higher levels of secondary traumatic stress immediately following CSB predicted higher levels of current perceived stress, and the more time that had passed since the CSB predicted lower levels of perceived stress. Predictors of current level of thinking about the CSB included time since the CSB and whether the social worker completed the grieving process. Implications for social work practitioners, supervisors, and educators are discussed.