Journal of Public Health Policy

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 424–445 | Cite as

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

  • Laura M. Schwab-ReeseEmail author
  • Vladka Kovar
  • Sarah Brummett
  • Carol Runyan
Original Article


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.


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



This work was undertaken on behalf of the Colorado Suicide Prevention Commission. We appreciate the assistance of Susan Marine, PhD and Sara Brandspigel, MPH in developing the instrument and data collection strategy and for reviewing a draft of the report. We also thank Jo Donlin at the Department of Regulatory Agencies and Brian Turner of the Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council for assistance in publicizing the survey. We appreciate the input from members of the Training and Development Workgroup of the Colorado Suicide Prevention Commission.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura M. Schwab-Reese
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vladka Kovar
    • 2
  • Sarah Brummett
    • 3
  • Carol Runyan
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Health & KinesiologyPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.University of ColoradoAuroraUSA
  3. 3.Colorado Department of Public Health & EnvironmentDenverUSA
  4. 4.Colorado School of Public HealthUniversity of DenverDenverUSA

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