Suicide Prevention in Rural Primary Care: Two-part Series

Suicide Prevention in Rural Primary Care 

People who die by suicide are more likely to have been seen by a primary care provider in the 30 days prior to their death than any other health care discipline. In rural areas especially, where behavioral health resources are fewer and stigma around seeking mental health help may be greater, it is crucial that primary care providers have the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to help prevent suicide among their clients. This webinar series introduced a simple toolkit to help put suicide prevention protocols into place in a practice or clinic, and walked participants through the screening, assessment, and intervention phases of suicide prevention. Tips for addressing suicidal issues via telehealth were also included.


Part One

Office Protocols, Screening, and Assessment

August 26, 2020

This session offered an overview of rural suicide issues, contributing factors to suicide rates in rural communities, primary care providers’ critical role in suicide prevention, office protocols, and patient screening and risk assessment.


Part Two

Intervention, Follow-up, and Telehealth Tips

September 10, 2020

This session covered intervention including medication, safety planning, documentation, and follow-up for patients expressing suicidal ideation as well as tips for helping patients via telehealth.  



Liza Tupa, PhD
Technical Trainer, Mountain Plains MHTTC
Director of Education and Research, WICHE

Dr. Liza Tupa is the Director of Education and Research for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, Behavioral Health Program (WICHE BHP) and a technical trainer for the Mountain Plains MHTTC. A licensed clinical psychologist, her work at the WICHE BHP has included expanding rural psychology internship development to seven western states, behavioral healthcare workforce training, service delivery system and clinical consultation, statewide behavioral health needs assessments, and developing toolkits for Suicide Prevention in Primary Care and School Behavioral Health Advocacy.

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