Background: To investigate attitudes among professions in mental health care outpatient clinics in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (CAP) (i.e., children and adolescents) or District Psychiatric Centres (DPC) (i.e., adults aged 18–67 years).
Methods: Professionals in four outpatient units in Oslo were enrolled (N = 229: 77%). The Understanding of Suicidal Patient Scale (USP) (range, 11 = positive to 55 = negative) and Attitudes towards Suicide (ATTS) (1 = totally disagree, 5 = totally agree) were assessed. Questions about competence, religion, experiences of and views on suicidal behaviour and treatment were explored.
Results: All professionals reported positive attitudes (USP 18.7) and that suicide could be prevented (ATTS 4.3). Professionals who had received supervision or were specialists had more positive attitudes. Professionals in CAP were less satisfied with available treatment. Psychiatric disorders were considered the most common reason for suicidal behaviour, and psychotherapy the most relevant treatment. The professionals confirmed that patients with other disorders of comparable severity are followed up more systematically.
Conclusions: The professionals showed positive attitudes with minor differences between CAP and DPC.
Keywords: Attitudes, suicide, suicidal behaviour, suicide ideation, health professionals.