Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 345–349

Deficiencies in Suicide Training in Primary Care Specialties: A Survey of Training Directors

  • Donna Sudak
  • Alec Roy
  • Howard Sudak
  • Alan Lipschitz
  • John Maltsberger
  • Herbert Hendin
Special Collection: Encountering Patient Suicide Special Collection

DOI: 10.1176/appi.ap.31.5.345

Cite this article as:
Sudak, D., Roy, A., Sudak, H. et al. Acad Psychiatry (2007) 31: 345. doi:10.1176/appi.ap.31.5.345



A high percentage of suicide victims have seen a primary care physician in the months before committing suicide. Thus, primary care physicians may play an important role in suicide prevention.


The authors mailed a survey to directors of training programs in family practice, internal medicine, and pediatrics, and 50.5% responded. Data obtained were analyzed with WebStat.


Training directors reported deficiencies in training in suicide and depression. Notably, less than half of the internal medicine and pediatrics training directors who replied reported that teaching about suicide was adequate. The majority of them indicated a need for standardized curricular materials on suicide and depression.


Experts could provide standardized curricula to primary care residencies in the recognition and management of suicide and depression. More robust training about these vital mental health concerns in primary care could reduce morbidity and mortality.

Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donna Sudak
    • 1
  • Alec Roy
    • 2
  • Howard Sudak
    • 3
  • Alan Lipschitz
    • 4
  • John Maltsberger
    • 5
  • Herbert Hendin
    • 6
  1. 1.Drexel University College of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Psychiatry Service116AVAMCEast OrangeUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryThe Pennsylvania Hospital, UPHSPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Wyeth-Ayerst LaboratoriesPhiladelphiaUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychiatryHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  6. 6.The American Foundation for Suicide PreventionNew YorkUSA

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