Are Social Work Students Being Adequately Prepared to Intervene With Suicide?

Results of a National Survey of BSW and MSW Programs




Suicide, Suicide prevention, social work education, BSW programs, MSW programs


Suicide is a major public health issue in the United States, but it is unknown how many social work programs have courses specializing in this topic. The purpose of this study was to establish baseline knowledge of suicide-focused course offerings in social work programs in the United States. A survey of CSWE-accredited programs (n=151) in the United States was used to collect data on social work programs’ suicide content in their curricula at three levels: baccalaureate, graduate, and continuing education. While only 6% of programs offered a required course on suicide, 13.9% offered an elective focused on suicide, and courses with substantial suicide content were available in 25.2% of programs. Continuing education offerings with a focus on suicide were present at 26.5% of programs. The implications for social work education are discussed, including the need for more courses specializing in suicide, especially within MSW programs, and for future research to better understand the factors which limit the development of such courses.

Author Biography

Rebecca G. Mirick, Salem State University School of Social Work

Rebecca G. Mirick is an Assistant Professor at Salem State University School of Social Work in Salem, MA.


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