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Suicide Awareness & Prevention – A Psychologist’s Perspective

In this interview, hear from Julie Cerel, PhD, President of the American Association of Suicidology, Professor in the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky, and Editorial Board member for Suicide & Life Threatening Behavior, as well as a licensed clinical psychologist. Dr. Cerel speaks about potential steps health care providers can take if they think a patient is acutely suicidal, screening tools for mental health professionals, key indicators included within the interpersonal theory of suicide, and differences in suicide prevalence among sociodemographic segments of the population. Lastly, she discusses suicide exposure – how suicide affects individuals and communities – and media coverage of death by suicide.

Each year nearly 45,000 Americans die by suicide, which is not only associated with mental illness, but can also affect patients seen primarily in primary care settings. Stigma surrounding suicide can make it more difficult for individuals to overcome barriers to treatment. It’s becoming increasingly important for mental health care professionals to speak out, talk about prevention initiatives, know and educate the public on the warning signs and risk factors of suicidality, and join a larger conversation about raising awareness. In this series of interviews, experts in the field of mental health provider their insights surrounding the importance of suicide awareness, prevention, and treatment for individuals at risk.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline / Lifeline at: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); or text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741.


Disclaimer: The information provided through PsychU is intended for the educational benefit of mental health care professionals and others who support mental health care. It is not intended as, nor is it a substitute for, medical care, advice, or professional diagnosis. Health care professionals should use their independent medical judgement when reviewing PsychU's educational resources. Users seeking medical advice should consult with a health care professional.