Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Social workers-Training of, Social work education, Suicide-Prevention, Suicide-Treatment, Suicide-Risk factors, Suicide assessment, Training, Social workers preparedness, Social work and suicide


Research on suicide assessment and prevention is limited in the social work field although social workers are the largest group of mental health practitioners treating individuals experiencing suicidal ideation. Recent literature points out social workers receive less than two hours training in suicidology during their graduate training programs. This study evaluates levels of preparedness and comfort in assessing and preventing suicide based on graduate training opportunities for MSW's. The study analyzed data received from 58 completed online surveys. Major findings show that social workers who received training on suicide assessment and prevention in their field placement internships were more prepared to assess and prevent suicide than those who did not. Obtaining information about suicide issues through field internships, field supervision, in-house training and formal discussion with other clinicians was positively correlated with level of preparedness. The study also looked at emphasis placed on self-care and debriefing in graduate training programs. Implications of these findings suggest more graduate training opportunities be made available to MSW's in the field internship and graduate coursework including content on self-care and debriefing techniques. Future research considerations include assessing the way suicide assessment material is presented to MSW's in the classroom, and expanding social workers' role in studying suicidology.




iv, 83 p. : ill. (1 col.) Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2011. Includes bibliographical references (p. 58-61)