Therapist smiling with client

Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk: Core Competencies for Health and Behavioral Health Professionals Working in Outpatient Settings

According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2021 over 48,000 people died by suicide with 6,529 of them between the ages of 10-24 years old.[1] During that period, 12.3 million adults seriously thought about suicide. [1] Outpatient mental health professionals are critical to the identification, assessment, and management of individuals with suicide risk even though most do not receive the necessary training. [2, 3] 

The AMSR for Health and Behavioral Health Professionals Working in Outpatient Settings (AMSR-Outpatient) curriculum develops skills in the recognition, assessment, and management of suicide risk and the delivery of effective suicide-specific interventions.

“Educating the mental health workforce to assess and respond to suicide risk is essential to the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, and to efforts such as the Zero Suicide initiative for providing ‘suicide safer’ care systems.”

Pisani, A.R., Murrie, D.C., Silverman, M.M. (2016). Reformulating Suicide Risk Formulation: From Prediction To Prevention. 

Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk

Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk (AMSR) teaches best practices recommended by the nation's leading experts in the research and delivery of suicide care.

We offer trainings and courses based on the AMSR-Outpatient curriculum for behavioral health clinicians working in outpatient settings who conduct suicide risk and nursing assessments, primarily those with a master’s degree or above.  The training and course both provide clinical professionals vital information and practice to improve their suicide care practice.

AMSR-Outpatient Training is a full-day facilitated workshop offered live in-person or online for clinical professionals seeking to improve their suicide care practice.

AMSR-Outpatient Course is an online asynchronous course that offers eight hours of instruction over five months of access for clinical professionals requiring a more flexible learning schedule.

AMSR-Outpatient Training of Trainers is a three-day facilitated workshop offered in-person or online for qualified participants seeking to lead AMSR training at their place of work. The first day participants will attend the training as provided by an AMSR lead trainer. The second and third day will focus on how to provide the training.

Suicide and People Receiving Mental Health Care

Suicidal behavior is a major cause of death and disability in the United States. In 2022, over 48,000 people died by suicide and 12.3 million people had serious thoughts of suicide. [1] Research shows that the risk of suicide death is highest within the first seven days and remains high throughout the 30 days following discharge from an emergency department or inpatient psychiatric unit. [4]

Despite the acute needs of individuals with elevated suicide risk many providers—psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors, and other professionals—are inadequately trained to assess, intervene, and manage suicide risk in the individuals in their care. [2,3] According to the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, “Many clinical training programs do not fully prepare healthcare professionals to provide suicide care.” [5]

AMSR fills that training gap by teaching the core competencies that meet suicide care standards established by national organizations including The Joint Commission, the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Veterans Administration, and others.

AMSR-Outpatient Training

AMSR-Outpatient training provides participants with the knowledge and skills they need to identify, assess, and manage the suicide risk of individuals. During the training participants will have the opportunity to increase their knowledge and apply practical skills.

Learn More

AMSR-Outpatient training follows national guidelines for caring for people with suicide risk.


[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2023). Suicide Data and Statistics. Retrieved from:

[2] Labouliere, C. D., Green, K. L., Vasan, P., Cummings, A., Layman, D., Kammer, J., Rahman, M., Brown, G. K., Finnerty, M., & Stanley, B. (2021). Is the outpatient mental health workforce ready to save lives? Suicide prevention training, knowledge, self‐efficacy, and clinical practices prior to the implementation of a statewide suicide prevention initiative. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 51(2), 325–333.

[3] Wakai, S., Schilling, E. A., Aseltine, R. H., Blair, E. W., Bourbeau, J., Duarte, A., Durst, L. S., Graham, P., Hubbard, N., Hughey, K., Weidner, D., & Welsh, A. (2020). Suicide prevention skills, confidence and training: Results from the Zero Suicide Workforce Survey of behavioral health care professionals. SAGE Open Medicine, 8, 205031212093315.

[4] Chung, D., Hadzi-Pavlovic, D., Wang, M., Swaraj, S., Olfson, M., & Large, M. (2019). Meta-analysis of suicide rates in the first week and the first month after psychiatric hospitalisation. BMJ Open, 9(3), e023883.

[5] National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention: Transforming Health Systems Initiative Work Group. (2018). Recommended standard care for people with suicide risk: Making health care suicide safe. Washington, DC: Education Development Center, Inc.

AMSR Direct Care Outpatient

This training is complemented by the 3.5-hour version of AMSR for Direct Care Staff in Outpatient Settings, which helps treatment teams of clinicians and direct care staff speak the same risk assessment and management language to provide consistent, effective care throughout their organization. It is offered as a “live” in person or virtual training and as an asynchronous, self-paced, on demand course. 

AMSR-Direct Care Outpatient Curriculum

“For those who experience suicidal crises and receive acute care interventions in hospitals and Emergency Rooms, suicide risk does not end at the moment of discharge. Rather, their elevated risk continues or is easily rekindled in the days and weeks that follow, leading to heightened rates of suicide during this post-acute care period.”

David Knesper, Author, Continuity of Care for Suicide Prevention and Research