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SAMHSA Helps Treatment Programs Address Clients’ Suicidal Thoughts, Behaviors


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released a new Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP 50) aimed at helping treatment programs address clients’ suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Suicide is a leading cause of death among people who abuse alcohol and drugs. For many reasons, people in treatment for substance use disorders are at especially high risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors and for this reason SAMHSA has published Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 50: Addressing Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors in Substance Abuse Treatment.

This TIP will assist substance abuse counselors working with adult clients who may be suicidal and will help clinical supervisors and administrators support the work of substance abuse counselors. TIP 50 is organized into three parts:

  • Part 1 (for counselors) provides the what, why, and how of working with clients in substance abuse treatment who have suicidal thoughts or have attempted suicide.
  • Part 2 (for administrators) clarifies why program administrators should be concerned about this clinical issue.
  • Part 3 (for clinical supervisors, interested counselors, and administrators) consists of three sections: an analysis of the available literature, an annotated bibliography, and a general bibliography.

To facilitate ongoing updates (which will be performed every 6 months for up to 5 years from first publication), the literature review is available only online (PDF).

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