Suicide is a leading cause of death over the course of the lifespan. Individuals with mental illness and those experiencing significant life stressors are at an increased risk of suicide – in approximately 90% of completed suicides, individuals have symptoms of a psychiatric disorder. Individuals with mental illness are over-represented in the criminal justice system, and justice involvement itself can be a significant life stressor. Each year community corrections professionals are in direct contact with thousands of individuals at elevated risk of suicide. Arrest, court involvement, incarceration, community reentry, and community corrections supervision are among the significant life stressors thought to increase suicide risk.

Policy Research Associates partnered with the University of Rochester’s Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide, a leading research center in the field, to develop a training program Suicide Prevention Training for Community Corrections Professionals. A content expert panel meeting with probation and parole officers, and suicide prevention experts, was held to obtain feedback on the draft curriculum, and a series of pilots were conducted in seven communities across three states.

The result from this process is a half-day, instructor-led training that prepares community corrections professionals to recognize and respond to individuals who are at increased risk for suicide. It provides the opportunity for participants to learn about the warning signs of suicide, increases awareness of risk factors, provides an opportunity to practice interventions appropriate for non-mental health practitioners, and brings together local service providers to inform community corrections professionals about protocols and procedures specific to their communities.

The training is supported with full color slides, video vignettes, and participant materials, including practical tools to aid in suicide prevention. A video clip is available for you to preview here.

For more information on Suicide Prevention Training for Community Corrections Professionals call (518) 439-7415 or email