This publication introduces two approaches to evaluating suicide risk and provides links to resources that offer additional guidance on choosing and implementing suicide screening and assessment programs.
A multi-source collection of readings, tools, videos, and webinars to help you understand and implement Zero Suicide.
Fowler , J. C. (2012). Suicide risk assessment in clinical practice: Pragmatic guidelines for imperfect assessments. Psychotherapy, 49(1), 81–90.
Simon , G. E., Rutter, C. M., Peterson, D., Oliver, M., Whiteside, U., Operskalski, B., & Ludman, E. J. (2013). Does response on the PHQ-9 Depression Questionnaire predict subsequent suicide attempt or suicide death? Psychiatric Services, 64(12), 1195–1202.
This free, online training from the New York State Office of Mental Health and Columbia University describes the Safety Planning Intervention and how it can help individuals, explains when to work with individuals to create a safety plan, and describes the steps in creating a safety plan. Behavioral health care practitioners in New York State working in nonprofit settings can receive a certificate of completion by completing the training through the Center for Practice Innovations (CPI) Learning Community. Practitioners outside of New York State are not eligible to receive a certificate of completion.
Centerstone of Tennessee developed this education sheet to explain to clients when they are being placed on the pathway to care, or suicide care management plan, and what that means.
This free, online course from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center is designed for people with training and experience in mental health counseling. It explains why means restriction is an important part of a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention and teaches how to ask suicidal patients/clients about their access to lethal means and to work with them and their families to reduce their access. Two hours of continuing education credit are available from the National Board for Certified Counselors and the National Association of Social Workers.
K. Michel, & D. A. Jobes (Eds.). (2011). Building a therapeutic alliance with the suicidal patient. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Jobes, D. A., Rudd, M. D., Overholser, J. C., & Joiner, T. E., Jr. (2008). Ethical and competent care of suicidal patients: Contemporary challenges, new developments, and considerations for clinical practice. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 39(4), 405.
Oordt, M. S., Jobes, D. A., Rudd, M. D., Fonseca, V. P., Runyan, C. N., Stea, J. B., . . . Talcott, G. W. (2005). Development of a clinical guide to enhance care for suicidal patients. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 36(2), 208.
While talented, dedicated clinicians have made heroic efforts to work with suicidal clients, most behavioral health clinicians have never received any formal training in suicide care and treatment. Individuals at risk for suicide who seek help from a behavioral health professional should expect to receive care that is research-informed, collaborative, and that focuses explicitly on suicide risk. Research suggests that practitioners who have received formal training in suicide care models have improved confidence, competence, and efficacy. In a comprehensive Zero Suicide approach, a skilled and savvy workforce that has extensive training in suicide care and treatment is critical. This webinar will focus on why using evidence-based care that focuses on treating suicide directly is essential and will discuss two highly researched models of treatment: Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Frequently encountered obstacles in delivering evidence-based care will also be explored. Finally, an individual with lived experience will describe the improved outcomes she experienced as a result of working with a well-trained clinician.
By the end of this webinar, participants will be able to (1) explain how using evidence-based approaches to treatment improves outcomes for those at risk for suicide; (2) recognize the importance of treating suicide symptoms directly; (3) describe two evidence-based models of suicide care; and (4) understand the perspective of people with lived experience and how it is impacted by receiving evidence-based care.
Safety planning and means reduction are integral parts of comprehensive suicide care. Clinicians should collaboratively develop safety plans with all persons identified as at risk for suicide, immediately after identifying the risk. The plan should include steps to restrict access to lethal means, balanced with respect for legal and ethical requirements under federal and state laws. In order to develop effective safety plans and organizational policies for lethal means assessment and counseling, training for staff is typically necessary and the input of those with lived experience is essential.
By the end of this webinar, participants will be able to (1) identify safety planning and lethal means reduction as part of a comprehensive Zero Suicide approach; (2) discuss ways to maximize the effectiveness of a safety plan; (3) develop an organizational policy for lethal means reduction; and (4) explain the importance of input from people with lived experience during safety planning and means reduction policy development.
Screening for suicide risk is a recommended practice for primary care, hospital and emergency department care, behavioral health care, and crisis response intervention. Any person who screens positive for possible suicide risk should be formally assessed for suicidal ideation, plans, means availability, presence of acute risk factors, history of suicide attempts, as well as for the presence of protective factors. This information should be synthesized by an appropriately trained clinician into a risk formulation that describes the person’s risk as well as serves as the basis for treatment and safety planning. While screening and assessment should be standardized, every client is unique. It is incumbent on the clinician to use the screening and assessment process to establish a collaborative relationship with the client and to ensure his or her safety and well-being.
This webinar will focus on screening and assessment for suicide in health care settings using a patient-centered approach. The objectives for this webinar are to: (1) understand why screening is part of a comprehensive approach to suicide care; (2) determine how to select a suicide screener; (3) recognize the difference between screening and assessment; (4) identify the problems with categorizing risk into levels (low, medium, high) and gain exposure to an alternative approach for formulating and communicating about risk in a health system; and (5) identify a patient-centered approach to screening and assessment.
The programmatic approach of Zero Suicide is based on the realization that suicidal individuals often fall through multiple cracks in a fragmented and sometimes distracted health care system, and on the premise that a systematic approach to quality improvement is necessary. Essential dimensions of suicide prevention for health care systems (health care plans or care organizations serving a defined population of consumers such as behavioral health programs, integrated delivery systems, and comprehensive primary care programs) have been identified as necessary for a comprehensive approach.
By the end of this webinar, participants will be able to (1) describe the seven dimensions of Zero Suicide and how they differ from the status quo of suicide care and (2) discuss the tools and recommended next steps for health care organizations seeking to adopt a Zero Suicide approach.
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