Mental health and healthcare professionals face many challenges in their everyday work, some of which are clinically more significant than others. These professionals undergo extensive training and education to learn to act in the moment, make sound decisions, and create the best plan of care for their patients and clients. Sometimes, crisis situations arise, however, and even the best-prepared professionals can feel confused or in over their head. The likelihood of a mental health or healthcare professional interacting with a potentially suicidal client in the course of their career is significant, even if that professional does not typical work with a specific suicidal population. The prevalence and significance of suicidality in all age groups additionally increases this potential. For this reason, it is imperative that all professionals understand the warning signs, myths and facts, and urgent first steps when faced with someone who is feeling suicidal.
This presentation reviews overall suicide statistics, various demographic differences, and lifelong risk factors associated with suicidal thoughts. We will examine, in-depth, key terms, do’s and don’ts on talking about suicide, and how to approach and complete a suicide risk assessment. Attendees will gain important factual information as well as new ways to approach clinical work with clients at risk for suicide.