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Suicide Prevention Training for Healthcare Professionals: Lessons from Idaho | Recorded Webinar
September 28, 2022


Idaho is consistently among the states with the highest suicide rates. In 2019, Idaho had the 11th highest suicide rate in the U.S., with a rate of 20.4 per 100,00 people, more than 1.5 times the national average. 

Healthcare clinicians in Idaho play a vital role in helping build resilient individuals and communities to bolster suicide prevention. Evidence demonstrates that, "overall, 64 percent of patients made some type of healthcare visit within a month before attempting suicide, 38 percent of patients within a week, and nearly 95 percent within a year."* Often, community members with mental health challenges present to primary care with alternative medical concerns and complaints. These visits provide the perfect opportunity to screen for suicide risk and intervene appropriately.

In an effort to help improve suicide care in the state, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare's Suicide Prevention Program partnered with the Northwest MHTTC to provide access to the online course, "All Patients Safe."

Watch this recorded webinar to hear about this partnership and Idaho's system-wide efforts including:

  • How Idaho launched this initiative
  • Suicide awareness and prevention efforts across the State
  • Results and outcomes of Idaho's initiative
  • Lessons and recommendations for other communities, States, etc.


What is All Patients Safe?

All Patients Safe is a three-hour or six-hour interactive, self-paced training course designed to provide the necessary tools to medical providers and client-facing staff for preventing and educating patients about suicide. This course was developed in response to the public health crisis that is suicide by leading experts and health care organizations through Forefront Suicide Prevention (University of WA).  All Patients Safe offers an engaging and informative option for providers and client-facing staff to become better skilled at suicide prevention. Perspectives of real patients coupled with practical skills help medical providers transfer what they learn to their practice and community.

Each self-paced training module includes:

  • Real patient stories
  • Model provider-patient interactions
  • Interactive patient exercises with feedback

* Ahmedani, et al. Racial/Ethnic Differences in Health Care Visits Made Before Suicide Attempt Across the United States, MED CARE 53, Issue 5, 430-435 (2015), AND Ahmedani, et al.  Health Care Contacts in the Year Before Suicide Death, J GEN INTERN MED 29, 870–877 (2014),






Betsy Hammar, MS 

Betsy HammarProgram Specialist, Suicide Prevention Program
Center for Drug Overdose and Suicide Prevention 
Division of Public Health
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

Betsy came to her work in suicide prevention through a lifelong passion for public service and individual wellness. Her diverse skill set developed first through business management, then non-profit management, allows her to negotiate a broad spectrum of relationships, partnerships, and stakeholder engagement. Her background includes almost ten years at the American Red Cross, supporting volunteers who deliver vital disaster response services, and the supporting services of operational and fund-raising activities. Because Idaho’s Suicide Prevention State Plan approach involves a heavy public-private element, her work at the state’s Department of Health & Welfare entails much more than education. Her business acumen facilitates projects and programs that require voluntary participation of individuals and organizations all across the state and State Plan advisory groups stand up initiatives to reduce suicide through categories like Capacity Building & Infrastructure, Advocacy & Policy, Suicide Care/Zero Suicide. Betsy also sits on the Advisory Committee for PCORI funded research to explore the role of Caring Contacts in the medical setting.


Ali Shields, LMSW

Ali ShieldsProject AWARE Coordinator, Idaho Lives Project  

Ali is the project coordinator for the ID-AWARE Project. Ali started her career with the Idaho Lives Project, as a regional coordinator (2018). She is well-versed in suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention strategies that specifically apply to integration at the school-level. In 2020, Ali transitioned from this position to her current position as coordinator for the ID-AWARE Project. This has expanded her focus from primarily suicide to more generalized mental health fundamental integration. Ali’s passion for mental health and suicide prevention/intervention began in 2009, as a psychiatric technician at Intermountain Hospital. From this work, she began seeking degrees in social work. Ali completed her graduate-level internship with St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital, where she worked primarily with suicidal adolescent populations. Ali obtained her bachelor’s in social work from Boise State University (Boise, Idaho) in 2016, as well as her master’s in social work, with a specialization in community mental health, from Northwest Nazarene University (Nampa, Idaho) in 2017. Ali is a certified Sources of Strength and SPFI (Suicide Prevention Fundamentals Instruction) school gatekeeper trainer. She also received ASIST (Applied Suicide Prevention Skills Training) training in September 2018.


Ben Skaggs, LCSW

Ben SkaggsProgram Specialist, Division of Behavioral Health

Ben works for The Department of Health and Welfare Division of Behavioral Health in the Quality Assurance unit as a program specialist. In addition to his work on the Suicide Prevention (KPA), he is an LCSW graduate from Northwest University (2010) and has worked with focuses in Substance Use Disorders and treatment, private practice mental health and more recently in helping with the Mobile Crisis Response development within the state of Idaho.


Jennifer Tachell, M.Ed./Ed.S.

Jennifer TachellBehavior Consultant, West Ada School District

Jennifer is a Behavior Consultant for the West Ada School District, where she helps school teams and teachers build capacity to support all students academically and behaviorally. Previously, Jennifer has been a school counselor in the Boise School District, the statewide lead PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) Tier 1 trainer with the Idaho Positive Behavior Network, and a psychiatric technician in adolescent residential psychiatric treatment. She has extensive experience in the areas of school counseling, coaching, PBIS implementation, Response to Intervention/MTSS, professional development, behavioral management, and curriculum design. Jennifer has a B.A. in Psychology, an M.Ed. in Education, and Ed.S. degrees in both Health Science and Educational Leadership. She maintains certification as a K-12 school counselor and as a K-12 principal.

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare logo

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