A new smartphone app has been designed to put suicide prevention tools and resources at the app_1fingertips of medical and mental health professionals.

Practitioners who download the free Suicide Safe app will have access to case studies, training and data to help them recognize and address suicide risk in patients and clients.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) created the app specifically for primary care and behavioral health care providers. Designed as a learning tool, it connects practitioners to the most up-to-date, research-based resources to prevent suicide, according to SAMHSA.

Among the app’s resources is a primer on SAMHSA’s five-step suicide assessment method, as well as “conversation starters” practitioners can use to introduce the sensitive issue of suicide with clients.

For practitioners who need to refer clients, the app has a treatment locator that will find clinics and mental health professionals who are close to the location of the smartphone or tablet/iPad.

According to SAMHSA, nearly half of the people who die by suicide have seen a primary care provider in the month prior to their death, and 20 percent have seen a mental health provider in the month prior to their death.

“Suicide devastates lives throughout all parts of our nation, but it is a public health issue that is preventable. SAMHSA is working to provide people on the front lines with resources they need to save lives,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde as the app was released. “Suicide Safe is a major step forward in suicide prevention. The app gives behavioral and primary health care providers an essential and modern prevention tool at their fingertips to help address suicide risk with their patients.”

The app was launched last month to coincide with the 10-year anniversary of SAMHSA’s National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK. The 24-hour hotline has answered nearly 7 million calls since it launched in 2005.


app_2What apps do you find useful in your work as a counselor? Tell us and join the conversation in the comments section below.




Learn more about the Suicide Safe app at 1.usa.gov/1CuHqj5


Suicide Safe is free to download on Apple and Android phones; search for “SAMHSA” in your device’s app store.




SAMHSA’s Suicide Assessment Five-Step Evaluation and Triage (SAFE-T) method:

1) Identify risk factors and note those factors that can be modified to reduce risk.

2) Identify protective factors and note those that can be enhanced.

3) Conduct suicide inquiry of suicidal thoughts, plans, behavior and intent.

4) Determine risk level and choose an appropriate intervention to address and reduce that risk.

5) Document your assessment of risk, rationale, intervention and follow-up with the client.





Bethany Bray is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Contact her at bbray@counseling.org


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