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J Public Health Policy. 2018 Nov;39(4):424-445. doi: 10.1057/s41271-018-0141-0.

Should suicide prevention training be required for mental health practitioners? A Colorado, United States case study.

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Department of Health & Kinesiology, Purdue University, 800 W Stadium Ave, West Lafayette, IN, 47907, USA.
University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, USA.
Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, Denver, CO, USA.
Colorado School of Public Health, University of Denver, Denver, CO, USA.


Suicide is a critical public health problem, resulting in more than 40,000 deaths a year in the United States (U.S.) and 800,000 globally. Provision of mental health services is a key component of a comprehensive population-based approach to prevention. State licensing boards in some U.S. states require mental health practitioners to be trained in suicide risk assessment and management, but such requirements are not uniform. Our case study examined mental health practitioner preparedness to engage in suicide prevention and intervention in Colorado, a state with a high suicide rate, using a survey designed to understand training experiences and perceptions of the acceptability of mandated training. Our findings support efforts to require mental health practitioners be trained to prevent suicide.


Continuing education mandate; Mental health practitioners; Public health policy; State policy; Suicide prevention

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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