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Practice Guideline for the Assessment and Treatment of Patients With Suicidal Behaviors

Activity Type:

  • On Demand

Release Date: 2/1/2010

Expiration Date: 3/31/2020

  • AMA PRA Category 1: 8
  • Participation: 8



Practice guidelines are patient care strategies developed to assist physicians in clinical decision making. They are developed based on the degree of public importance, relevance to psychiatric practice, availability of information and relevant data, availability of work already done that could be useful in their development, and degree to which increased psychiatric attention in a given area would be helpful to the field. Enduring materials developed under practice guidelines meet the needs of advancing clinical knowledge and enriching and expanding the skills of clinicians with the ultimate goal of improving patient care.


FREE - $0

Funding for this initiative was made possible (in part) by Grant No. 1H79SM080818-01 from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. (Effective January 1, 2019)

Educational Objectives

  • Educate physicians with the APA Practice Guideline for the Assessment and Treatment of Patients With Suicidal Behaviors
  • Improve patient care for suicidal behaviors by incorporating the principles of this guideline into individual practices

Target Audience

Clinicians who treat patients with suicidal behaviors and psychiatrists interested in research findings and clinical approaches to suicidal behaviors.

Estimated Time to Complete

Estimated Time to Complete: 8 hours
Activity Release Date: April 2004
Activity Review Date: March 2017
Activity End Date: March 31, 2020

How to Earn Credit

Participants who wish to earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ or a certificate of participation may do so by completing all sections of the course including the evaluation. A multiple choice quiz is provided based on the content. A passing score of 60% must be achieved. Retakes are available for the test. After evaluating the program, course participants will be provided with an opportunity to claim hours of participation and print an official CME certificate (physicians) or certificate of participation (non-physicians) showing the date of completion and hours earned.

Continuing Education Credit

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The APA designates this enduring CME activity for a maximum of 8.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Faculty and Planner Disclosures

Faculty and Planners

  • John S. McIntyre, M.D., Vice President for Behavioral Health and Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Unity Health System, Rochester, New York, and Chair, APA Steering Committee on Practice Guidelines. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Douglas G. Jacobs, M.D., Executive Director, Screening for Mental Health, Wellesley, Mass., and Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass. Chair, APA Practice Guideline Work Group. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Margaret Brewer, R.N., M.B.A., Consultant, Suicide Education and Research Division, Screening for Mental Health, Wellesley, Mass. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Laura J. Fochtmann, M.D., Practice Guidelines Medical Editor, American Psychiatric Association, and Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Department of Pharmacological Sciences, State University of New York at Stony Brook. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Deborah J. Hales, M.D., Former Director, APA Division of Education. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.

Disclosure of Unapproved or Investigational Use of a Product

APA policy requires disclosure of unapproved or investigational uses of products discussed in CME programs. As of the date of publication of this CME program, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved clozapine to reduce the risk of recurrent suicidal behavior in patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. All other uses of medications specifically to treat suicidal behavior are “off-label.” Off-label use of medications by individual physicians is permitted and common. Decisions about off-label use can be guided by the evidence provided in the APA practice guideline, other scientific literature, and clinical experience.

Hardware/Software Requirements

This internet-based CME activity is best experienced using Internet Explorer 8+, Mozilla Firefox 3+, Safari 4+. This Web site requires that JavaScript and session cookies be enabled. Certain activities may require additional software to view multimedia, presentation, or printable versions of the content. These activities will be marked as such and will provide links to the required software. That software may be: Adobe Flash, Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Windows Media Player.

Optimal System Configuration:

  • Flash Player: Adobe Flash Player 10.3+ 
  • Browser: Firefox (latest version), Internet Explorer 8.0+, Safari 7.0+, Microsoft Edge (latest version) or Google Chrome (latest version)
  • Operating System: Windows XP+ or Mac OS X 10.4+ 
  • Internet Connection: 1 Mbps or higher

Minimum Requirements:

  • Windows PC: 500-MHz Pentium II; Windows XP or higher; 128 MB RAM; Video Card at least 64MB of video memory; Macromedia Flash Player 10.3 or higher; Sound Card at least 16-bit; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content
  • Macintosh:Mac OS X 10.4+ or higher with latest updates installed; 1.83MHz Intel Core Duo or faster; RAM: 128MB or more; Video Card: at least 64MB of video memory; Sound Card: at least 16-bit; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content

For assistance: Contact for questions about this course | Contact for technical assistance