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 behavioral health care from their primary care provider. In rural areas such as South Dakota, primary care providers are central to the behavioral 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 behavioral health setting
- May not self-identify with behavioral health symptoms but seek care for physical symptoms with underlying behavioral health issues
For primary care toolkits, click here.