Pharmacists Preventing Suicides

Reprinted with permission from :
Pete Hueseman, R.Ph., P.D. and Pres. of  PPS, Inc.

Pharmacists Preventing Suicides© focuses on Suicide Prevention education, research, training, lobbying and promotion of practical and proven tools to assist the profession of pharmacy and other health care professionals in saving and improving the quality of life for persons at risk for taking their own lives. The large majority of these at-risk individuals are diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (major Depression), Bipolar Disorder or other mood disorders and/or drug abuse disorders including alcoholism and drug addiction. Their family members suffer greatly when there is such a tragedy, and close survivors of the victims become at additional risk for taking their own lives in the future.  Pharmacists are generally not highly knowledgeable about Suicidality or suicide prevention, but are in a key strategic position to help in their daily pharmacy practice locations. These include community independent or chain pharmacies, office-based pharmacy practices, nursing home pharmacy centers,  hospital pharmacy units or any location where medications are dispensed and/or counseling and pharmaceutical care is provided to patients and families.

Our efforts have included:

  • four schools of pharmacy receiving in-person education of students and faculty members who now include these topics (Suicidality and Suicide Prevention) in their courses as a model for the other 121 schools of pharmacy
  • a research project to establish a base line among Missouri pharmacists concerning their knowledge, feelings and experience with suicide prevention.  This study is to be followed by a program of continuing education, training and consultation services to give them the ability to identify at-risk patients, to intervene and refer them to mental health care facilities and mental health counselors/physicians
  • Pursuit of the adoption of a model bill to be introduced in legislatures across the country, now before the Missouri Legislature as House Bill 2244.   It will require pharmacists to complete two hours of C. E. credits as part of the thirty hours required to earn the renewal of their licenses to practice. 
  • The development of a new prescription order form for prescribers to instruct pharmacists to provide Medication Therapy Management and Medication Therapy Services to patients who may be at risk for taking their own lives and other patients who need to be closely monitored.
  • Besides our semiars and consulting for Schools of Pharmacy, we conduct educational seminars for both consumer groups such as teachers and parents, and for health professional groups including physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, psychologists, social workers,  case managers, and others.
  • There is a PPS© on-going effort with other suicide prevention practitioners to persuade the FDA to provide guidelines and regulations for drug manufacturers to revise the labels, labeling and the number of doses and recommended strengths of a number of drug categories.  These categories should include antidepressants and other drugs which put the patients at greater risk for suicide. 

The members of the Pharmacists Preventing Suicides© team are all Registered Pharmacists who each have additional education and degrees such as Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Pharmacy Administration, Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), Masters Degree (MHA) in Hospital Administration, Masters Degree (M.A.) in counseling, Ph.D. in Sociology, and other relevant education and certifications.  We believe our work has and will result in saving the lives of some by helping others to learn how to compassionately and professionally manage a dangerous or even crisis suicidal situation in their professional roles as health care providers.

For more information about this organization go to: