Ashley Allen

LCSW, ACSW, DSW Candidate

Proactively Preparing Mental Health Professionals to Cope after Client Suicide


This capstone presentation explores the need for proactive training to address client suicide with social workers and other mental health professionals. Client suicide is, unfortunately, a frequent event in the mental health field and can be a traumatic experience for clinician-survivors. This project addresses the need for training and present practice solutions for this problem by presenting the findings of three papers that complete the capstone project. The first product, the systematic literature review, addresses the research question: what proactive tools from an organizational perspective are currently used to address client suicide with mental health professionals? The presentation describes the literature review that was conducted and presents the findings. The second product, the conceptual paper, presents a conceptualized training plan rooted in social learning theory. The third product, the practice application paper, builds upon the conceptual paper to offer a training curriculum that organizations can deliver to staff to address the realities of client suicide proactively. Together, these three products demonstrate a need for proactive interventions to address client suicide with mental health professionals, discuss the theoretical foundations of successful training interventions, and provide a curriculum that organizations can use to provide proactive intervention and support to their teams.


Ashley is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Georgia. She was born and raised in Milledgeville, Georgia and currently resides in Savannah, Georgia. She has also practiced in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Macon, Georgia. Ashley completed her Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work at the University of Georgia. She is currently a Doctor of Social Work candidate at the University of Kentucky with a concentration in Administrative Leadership. Ashley’s research focus is organizational proactive intervention to address client suicide with mental health professionals.

Ashley has worked in the behavioral health field for more than 15 years and is currently the Chief Operating Officer at Gateway Community Service Board, which provides outpatient and inpatient mental health services to eight counties of the coastal Georgia area. Ashley is also a part-time instructor in the Social Work Department at Middle Georgia State University where her favorite class to teach is Social Work and Mental Health. She is a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and was the recipient of Georgia Trend Magazine’s 40 under 40 award in 2022. Ashley’s professional interests include program development, suicide prevention, raising awareness of mental health disparities, project management, professional development, and development of
company culture. Ashley’s goals include highlighting the value of social workers in professional leadership positions and empowering leaders to promote a healthy organizational culture. In her free time, Ashley enjoys theme parks, cheering on the Georgia Bulldogs, spending time with her family and friends, and spoiling her chiweenie, Scout.