Suicide Prevention

Welcome to this module on Suicide Prevention in Primary Care. The module is part of a programme, developed by the ICGP in collaboration with other stakeholders, to support GPs and other members of the Primary Care Team in addressing this challenging issue. As this module is intended for education and professional development of GPs, access through this site is restricted to qualified General Practitioners and the website requires registration and an enrolment key which is provided by the ICGP. Other health professionals will have access through their own professional bodies whom they should contact. Members of the public may wish to use the links and numbers provided here: Samaritans 1850 60 90 90  //

Module Overview

External CPD Credits: 3
GMS Study Leave: 1/2 day
No. of Lessons: 8 
MCQ Assessment
Certificate of Completion


The Suicide in Primary Care Project has been developed to support GPs and other members of the Primary Care Team in dealing with the challenge of suicide. It was informed by a needs-assessment carried out by the ICGP, in an attempt to ensure GPs needs are met, and has been developed in collaboration with a number of other stakeholders.
Suicide is a community health problem. Few communities or practices have been unaffected by it. 'Many communities affected by suicide have responded by trying to find ways of coping with it and preventing it. Ordinary people concerned about suicide and people directly affected by suicide have come together with the common goal of:
  • dealing with the challenge of suicide; and
  • strengthening the community after a suicide has happened' [Suicide Prevention in the Community - see Resource section]
GPs and PCTs are core parts of all local communities and are often turned to for support, guidance and leadership when there is a suicide risk, during an acute event and in the aftermath of suicide. This programme has been developed as a practical guide to dealing with the many aspects of suicide in general practice, to assist GPs in coping with suicide and in providing the leadership required of them.
The ICGP however recognises that GPs themselves also form a community and adopting a shared approach to planning may provide cohesion and support between practices. In order to facilitate this or at least open the conversation and plant the seed, the project includes a resourced CME meeting.
The Suicide Prevention in Primary Care Project is divided into 3 Modules exploring the themes of Prevention, Intervention and Postvention.

Development of this module was funded by a grant from the National Office of Suicide Prevention (NOSP)

The NOSP functions to
  • Oversee the implementation of 'Reach Out' the National Strategy for Action on Suicide Prevention
  • Co-ordinate suicide prevention efforts around the country
  • Speak regularly with agencies and individuals interested and active in suicide prevention


        The Suicide Prevention in Primary Care Project is divided into 3 Modules exploring the themes of Prevention, Intervention and Postvention.
        Module 1
        Content is delivered through this eLearning site and focuses on Prevention - highlighting awareness, identification and assessment of suicide risk. It contains Lessons 1-4 and should ideally be completed in advance of any group discussion or training.
        • Lesson 1: Suicide Awareness
        • Lesson 2: Assessment of Suicide Risk
        • Lesson 3: Crisis Intervention
        • Lesson 4: Patient Testimony
        Module 2
        Content is delivered through the CME / training networks, and the module is central to the programme. It focuses on Intervention and acute crisis management. It is hoped that discussing GP's experience of suicide - how it's approached, its impact, coping skills, practical issues and so on - will stimulate work at a local and community level to address the challenge of suicide. It contains Lessons 5-6.
        • Lesson 5: Preparation for Group Learning **
        • Lesson 6: Attendance at CME / Training Group Meeting
        **Lesson 5, which is contained within this eLearning site, comprises two short presentations (11 mins in total) on issues around suicide, filmed at the ICGP Summer School 2012. It is hoped that if GPs have an opportunity to view these presentations, that they will provide an opportunity for reflection in advance of a CME/ training group meeting.
        Module 3
        Content is again delivered through this eLearning site and focuses on issues around 'Postvention' or dealing with the aftermath of suicide, and with local support services and practice protocols. It contains Lessons 7-8 and can be used as a continuing resource for GPs.
        • Lesson 7: The Aftermath of Suicide  
        • Lesson 8: Suicide and the Practice


The Medical Council has defined eight domains of good professional practice. These domains describe a framework of competencies applicable to all doctors across the continuum of professional development from formal medical education and training through to maintenance of professional competence. Since they describe the outcomes which doctors should strive to achieve, doctors should refer to these domains throughout the process of maintaining competence. In order to assist you in planning your professional competence, ICGP eLearning highlight the domains addressed in each module as set out below. 
NOTE: While a number of ICGP modules have a tight focus on one or two domains, most modules endeavour to address all domains to some degree (low, medium, high). This is clearly displayed in the diagram below

The following resources are provided to support this eLearning course and to provide you with information for patients.
GP Information
Patient Information
Deliberate Self Harm in Young People

A number of support organisations are listed below, however a comprehensive list is available from Your Mental Health.ie
GP Websites
Patient Websites and Helplines

Last modified: Wednesday, 2 December 2015, 1:11 PM