Primary Care

Primary Care

At any given time, between 2-4% of primary care patients are having thoughts of suicide. Primary care providers are in a unique position to prevent suicides among their patients. Research states that people who die by suicide are more likely to have seen their primary care provider shortly before their death than any other health care professional. The Suicide Prevention Toolkit for Rural Primary Care developed by Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) and Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) provides a number of tools and templates for use in office settings to better assist patients that are suicidal.

More than 65% of rural Americans get their mental health care from their primary care provider. In rural areas such as South Dakota, primary care providers are central to the mental health delivery system. Why?

  • May be the only provider available in a rural area
  • Less stigma in seeking care in a doctor’s office than a mental health setting
  • May not self-identify with mental health symptoms but seek care for physical symptoms with underlying mental health issues

If you are interested in further information or training related to the Suicide Prevention Toolkit for Rural Primary Care, you can contact a suicide prevention task force member.

Recognizing and Responding to Suicide Risk in Primary Care is a one-hour training program that provides physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants knowledge to integrate suicide risk assessments into routine office visits, to formulate relative risk, and to work collaboratively with patients to create treatment plans. The RRSR-PC can be delivered in person on by webinar and 1.5 CME credit hours are available.The training package includes:

  • a facilitator-led slide presentation with video vignettes
  • reproducible patient handouts
  • a pocket assessment tool

TeenScreen Primary Care Program

This program offers free support to health professionals working to implement mental health screenings for adolescent patients who may have depression or be at risk for suicide. Screening is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. It is also a required component of routine care for new plans under the 2010 health reform law.

The SAFE-T protocol represents the standard of care for suicide risk assessment. It is based on the American Psychiatric Association’s “Practice Guideline for the Assessment and Treatment of Suicidal Behaviors” (2003).The SAFE-T protocol represents the standard of care for suicide risk assessment. It is summarized in a free, laminated pocket card for clinicians; explained in detail in a resource guide from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare 
Organizations (2007); and based on the American Psychiatric Association’s “Practice Guideline for the Assessment and Treatment of Suicidal
Behaviors” (2003).

Follow this link to access Suicide Safe: The Suicide Prevention App for Health Care Providers Free from SAMHSA

Depression Toolkit for Primary Care Clinicians: The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) Adolescent Toolkit is intended to help primary care clinicians effectively assess, treat and monitor depression in adolescents with this condition.