Proposed NCSP Position Statement on Training

  1. As suicide prevention relies, in part, on the early detection and referral of individuals who are potentially suicidal to qualified mental health professionals for assessment and treatment, the NCSP acknowledges the significant role clinical mental health practitioners have in the chain of care for an at-risk-for-suicide person.

  2. The NCSP recognizes that the majority of clinical mental health practitioners are severely under-trained in research-informed understandings that underlie the assessment of suicide risk and in making clinical and professional judgments regarding levels of suicide risk.

  3. Hence, consistent with objectives outlined in the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (2001, 2012) and recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine (2002), among others, the NCSP endorses the need for significantly improving clinical competencies in the assessment and formulation of suicide risk leading to better–informed triage decisions and treatment planning for patients at risk.

  4. The NCSP also endorses recommendations made by suicidologists, representatives from patient safety organizations, professional mental health guilds and consumer organizations who attended the January, 2014Training Summit, specifically noting:

  5. That immediate attention be focused on the longstanding omission and insufficiency of suicide assessment and management and the implementation of programmatic initiatives by patient safety organizations and professional mental health guilds to significantly improve the clinical competencies of this nation’s mental health professionals in dealing with individuals potentially at risk for suicide.

  6. The NCSP member organizations commit to supporting efforts to improve evidence-informed training in their work and urge all other professional bodies working with suicidal individuals to ensure their practitioners and memberships are fully trained in the same manner to improve quality care standards of practice. 

© 2021 The National Council for Suicide Prevention