Year: 2020 Source: Early Childhood Education Journal. (2020). SIEC No: 20200841

Parents of young children with disabilities may experience high levels of stress and psychological distress that may put them at higher risk for experiencing suicidality. Thus, early childhood home visitors (e.g., professionals who work for home-based early intervention programs) may serve as important gatekeepers for identifying and referring parents who are experiencing psychological distress, including suicidal thoughts. However, most early childhood home visitors do not receive training on identifying or intervening with distressed and potentially suicidal caregivers. Therefore, early childhood home visitors would benefit from acquiring evidence-based, accessible strategies for identifying and responding to caregivers who they know or suspect are experiencing suicidal thoughts—a class of knowledge and skills that can be obtained through “suicide gatekeeper” training. In this article, we provide evidence-based information about suicide risk among parents of young children with disabilities, the intervention of suicide gatekeeping, and how suicide gatekeeping can be incorporated into the early childhood home visitor role.