206658 Suicide Prevention and Intervention in Hospital Settings: Outcomes and Implications of a Departmental Needs Assessment

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 4:56 PM

Abigail Ross, MSW , Schools of Social Work/Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA
Katherine Ginnis, MSW, MPH , Emergency Psychiatry, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA
Susan Lambert, MSW , Social Work Department, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA
Elizabeth Wharff, PhD , Emergency Psychiatry, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA
Suicide is a significant public health problem. Recent reports rank suicide as the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S. general population (Center for Disease Control, 2007) and the 3rd leading cause of death among youth/young adults (National Center for Health Statistics, 2007).

Social workers are the leading providers of mental health treatment services in the United States (Olfson, Marcus, Druss and Pincus, 2002). Exploratory research has revealed reports by both field supervisors and MSW students of minimal levels of SPI training (Ruth, Muroff, McLaughlin and Gianino, 2008). These findings are consistent with others from an earlier national survey in which the majority of social workers characterized their level of SPI training as inadequate (Feldman & Freedenthal, 2006).

In response to these findings, the Social Work Department at a northeastern hospital for children administered a department-wide (n=110, response rate 74%) survey on suicide prevention and intervention (SPI) practices as part of a 2008 Quality Improvement Initiative. Survey questions were based upon knowledge and skill-based core competencies in suicide assessment and risk management identified by the American Association of Suicidology (2006). Identified priority training areas included cultural competence in assessment tools/models, SPI risk factor interaction, crisis intervention and management of ongoing care. The needs assessment process, findings, and implications will be discussed. Implications for the role of public health student practica in the design and implementation of hospital-based public health interventions will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
1) Discuss barriers associated with suicide prevention and intervention (SPI) 2) Identify strategies for improving SPI preparedness within hospital settings 3) Formulate ways in which student practica may help facilitate improved quality of service at one’s own institution

Keywords: Child/Adolescent Mental Health, Hospitals

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I assisted in conducting the research presented in the abstract. I am a current public health student and employee of Children's Hospital Boston.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.