Social work education in suicide intervention and prevention: an unmet need

Barry N. Feldman, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Stacey Freedenthal, University of Denver

At the time of publication, Barry Feldman was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.


Research shows that social work graduate programs offer little education in suicide prevention and intervention, yet social workers' experiences and attitudes regarding suicide education are unknown. This Web-based survey of 598 social workers found that almost all respondents had worked with at least one suicidal client, but most received little, if any, training in suicide prevention or intervention while in graduate school. Respondents largely viewed their social work program's training in suicide prevention and intervention as inadequate. Implications for social work education and practice are discussed.