Suicide Prevention Course Shares Strategies for Healthcare Professionals

Suicide and the valuable role clinicians can play in its prevention is the topic of a new interprofessional continuing education course offered by OnCourse Learning.

"Suicide Prevention: Assessment, Treatment, and Risk Management of At-Risk Populations" is available for registered nurses, advanced practice nurses and licensed vocational nurses, along with physicians, physician assistants, social workers and psychologists.

The course also is approved by the State of Washington Department of Health for its suicide prevention education requirement for clinicians.

"This education will help healthcare professionals identify symptoms and signs that can go overlooked," said Jennifer Mensik, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, vice president of CE programming for OnCourse Learning. "This will allow them to begin the proper conversations and start the proper referral process to get people at risk the help they need."

The information healthcare professionals learn in the course also can be shared with their personal networks to bring attention to the issue.

"Clinicians can educate family members, friends and relatives about what signs and symptoms to look for," Mensik said. "Just by sharing information on Facebook, for example, the circle of awareness regarding suicide can expand greatly. If people with symptoms aren't identified, how can we help them get help?"

One of the nation's most vulnerable populations is military veterans. According to a 2016 study by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, roughly 20 veterans a day commit suicide nationwide.

While the civilian suicide rate jumped 23.3% from 2001 to 2014, the rate for veterans rose more than 32%, the study said.

"We know this group of individuals needs help," Mensik said. "How are we missing them?"

According to the VA study, about 70% of veterans who committed suicide were not regular users of VA health services. Making more clinicians across the healthcare continuum aware of the signs and symptoms will ensure a larger number of veterans receive the care they need.

For information or to purchase the accredited CE course, nurses can visit the website, while other healthcare professionals can go to

This course is also available for organizations through CE Direct, the OnCourse Learning corporate solution.