To identify and compare state policies for suicide prevention training among health care professionals across the United States and benchmark state plan updates against national recommendations set by the surgeon general and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention in 2012.
We searched state legislation databases to identify policies, which we described and characterized by date of adoption, target audience, and duration and frequency of the training. We used descriptive statistics to summarize state-by-state variation in suicide education policies.
In the United States, as of October 9, 2017, 10 (20%) states had passed legislation mandating health care professionals complete suicide prevention training, and 7 (14%) had policies encouraging training. The content and scope of policies varied substantially. Most states (n = 43) had a state suicide prevention plan that had been revised since 2012, but 7 lacked an updated plan.
Considerable variation in suicide prevention training for health care professionals exists across the United States. There is a need for consistent polices in suicide prevention training across the nation to better equip health care providers to address the needs of patients who may be at risk for suicide.