The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU) announced the successful completion of pilots implemented to assess the impact of its Suicide Safer Care training curriculum and toolkit. With support from Centene Corporation, the training curriculum was developed and piloted across eight states, engaging 1,060 trainees, to evaluate for effectiveness in 2018-19. 

Using the Zero Suicide framework as a foundation, the Suicide Safer Care curriculum was created to train primary care providers and their teams on skills for suicide risk assessment, evidence-based interventions, referral and transition when needed, and how to change the culture of addressing suicide risk across the clinician’s practice. 

The focus on primary care settings is critical to suicide prevention, as many people who die by suicide saw their primary care provider within thirty days before death. Suicide rates continue to rise across the country. More than half of the providers trained reported no prior training for how to identify or care for patients at risk for suicide, yet more than 33% said they had lost a patient to suicide.

Analysis of the pre- and post-training surveys clearly demonstrated that the Suicide Safer Care training is effective in increasing the knowledge, skills and confidence among clinicians to care for patients at increased risk for suicide.

Suicide Safer Care has proven to be not just effective but invaluable in fulfilling one of ACUs primary focuses — to support health care teams to deliver comprehensive primary care and preventive services, including suicide prevention. When we compared pre- and post-training survey results, the number of providers who felt confident in conducting a suicide risk assessment doubled after completing Suicide Safer Care training.Results like these confirmed not just the importance of this work but the critical need to continue. Since its inception, part of what has enabled ACU and Suicide Safer Care to be successful is our partnership with Centene Corporation. We are proud of the work we do in partnership with Centene to improve healthcare quality and access and we look forward to continuing our work together on this critical program in the future,” said Amanda Pears Kelly, Executive Director of ACU.

Based on the effectiveness of the training demonstrated in the pilots, Centene has committed to support ACU in offering Suicide Safer Care trainings throughout 2020, targeting states and specific populations (including teens) with high suicide rates. The Suicide Safer Care curriculum and toolkit is available here along with the final report evaluating the pilot trainings.