A Multilevel Examination of Client Suicide in Doctoral Training Programs in Psychology and Allied Mental Health Fields



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Client suicide is associated with a host of consequences for mental health professionals and, in particular, mental health professionals in training. The present study used samples of faculty and students in psychology and allied mental health training programs to develop a set of parallel scales for faculty and students measuring program climate related to preparing trainees for client suicide. The scales both demonstrated adequate reliability and the student scale demonstrated promising convergent and divergent validity. Non-parametric analyses suggest that the distributions of the scales are not significantly different, lending support to their parallel structure. Additionally, the present study provides an update to the literature regarding training in suicide-related matters and exposure to suicide for psychology and allied mental health students. Overall, allied mental health programs reported marginally more formalized training in suicide-related matters available, while psychology programs covered the topic more in supervision. Additionally, psychology students tended to have more exposure to suicide amongst their clients than allied mental health professionals, although this difference was not significant. Exposure to suicide was not related to negative mental health symptoms, skill in responding to suicidal statements, self-efficacy in suicide intervention, or preparedness for client suicide, but was related to self-efficacy in suicide assessment. Implications for suicide-related training are discussed.



Suicide risk assessment, Suicide intervention, Suicide postvention, Graduate training, Psychology, Allied mental health