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The month of September is internationally known as a time to raise awareness and promote resources for suicide prevention. The World Health Organization’s statistics indicate that suicide happens across the lifespan and is a global phenomenon impacting all regions in the world, accounting for 1.4% of all deaths worldwide. Latest aggregate statistics indicate more than 800,000 people die due to suicide every year. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent 2015 report indicates suicide is the tenth leading cause of death for all ages. There were 41,149 suicides in the United States in 2013—a rate of 12.6 suicide per 100,000 people and one suicide every 13 minutes. In Canada, information released by Statistics Canada in 2012 mirror the United States, indicating a rate of 11.3 suicides per 100,000 people.
The prevalence and impact of suicide makes it a global public health concern. CARF’s footprint of accrediting more than 52,000 programs at more than 23,000 sites affords us the opportunity and responsibility to raise awareness of and vigilance in response to suicidal behavior in the organizations we accredit.
Persons at risk for suicide are served by CARF-accredited organizations daily. By illustration, these events may affect active military members and veterans; individuals experiencing chronic pain, job loss, or financial distress; teens with life transition issues; individuals with primary or concurrent mental health issues; and aging and isolated seniors who may be managing a long-standing terminal health matter. With so many populations affected by suicide, the organizations serving them have a great opportunity to bend the curve on suicide rates by embedding knowledge about suicidal behaviors and prevention efforts into their service offerings.
Responsible, quality-based practitioners in the health and human services industry should educate and train themselves to act in a responsible and timely manner when presented with a person at risk for suicide. We know through research that applying evidence-based practice and delivering comprehensive and integrated prevention programs can reduce the rate of suicide. In regard to Suicide Prevention Month, please access
CARF’s Quality Practice Notice on Suicide Prevention for first step resources to saving a life. While much of the data and background information presented in this notice are from U.S. sources, suicide is a global public health issue.
Brian J. Boon, Ph.D.
The guidelines for training, developed by the Clinical Workforce Preparedness Task Force of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, are referenced in CARF’s Quality Practice Notice. View the training guidelines here.
In an open letter to CARF, The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), a member of CARF’s International Advisory Council, has endorsed the Suicide Prevention and the Clinical Workforce: Guidelines for Training. Read the letter here.
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