In 2015, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) launched a bold goal to reduce the annual rate of suicide 20% by 2025. Together with a board of expert advisors, AFSP determined four critical areas identified to save the most lives in the shortest amount of time.
One of the four critical areas of the bold goal is Healthcare Systems.
Data shows that a third of individuals who die by suicide visited a primary care provider in the month before their death. It is therefore crucial that more primary care professionals know how to assess, treat, and manage suicidal behavior among their patients.
AFSP has partnered with SafeSide Prevention to provide training for primary care professionals, giving them an evidence-informed, patient-centered, and practical framework for responding to suicide concerns. The SafeSide Primary CARE framework acts as a roadmap of best practices that helps providers organize their thinking and actions when suicide concerns come up in their practice.
Arranged through AFSP’s local chapters across the country, SafeSide Prevention provides education programs, implementation support, and quality improvement consultation to healthcare systems that wish to unite and inspire their workforce with suicide prevention training that engages, scales, and sustains.
First developed by Dr. Anthony Pisani and colleagues based on programs created and tested at the University of Rochester, the objectives of the SafeSide Prevention training is to help primary care:
- Develop a sustained connection with patients to support direct conversations about suicide
- Gather and summarize assessment information that is actionable
- Respond to a patient’s suicide risk level with appropriate interventions
- Extend the patient’s care into behavioral health or other appropriate resources and supports
Anyone can play a role in helping to reduce the national suicide rate by bringing this potentially lifesaving training to health practices in their area. Many AFSP chapters are currently sponsoring primary care training in their communities so if you work in primary care, or know someone who is, please contact your local AFSP chapter to learn more.