Joseph H. Obegi, Psy.D. is a licensed Senior Psychologist at California State Prison, Solano where he coordinates institutional efforts to prevent suicide. In the community, he regularly presents on topics related to suicide, delivers customized training for mental health agencies, and writes about suicide risk assessment, suicide and liability, and suicidality as a psychiatric condition.
This 6-hour course covers the essential aspects of suicide risk assessment and intervention.
Part 1 teaches participants how to complete a high-quality suicide risk assessment, an essential first step in protecting the suicidal patient. Participants will learn a structured approach to (a) inquiring about suicidal thinking and behavior and (b) integrating this information with warning signs and risk factors for suicide. Guidelines for estimating suicide risk will be reviewed as well as how to create a treatment plan that reduces risk.
In Part 2, participants will learn about treatment options that can safely and effectively reduce suicide risk. Two interventions—safety planning and means safety—address the near- term safety of patients while outpatient treatments that prioritize suicidality can mitigate factors that drive suicide risk. Participants will be introduced to these interventions and their research basis.
Attendees will have access to electronic versions of the slides and handouts.
Links and references will also be available to guide further learning.
1) Discuss suicide-related statistics and terms
2) Describe the phenomenology of suicide
3) Discuss of benefits of using a semi-structured interview to collect clinical data
4) Explain a structured approach to evaluating suicide risk
5) List ways to counsel patients and their families about the benefits of reducing access to lethal means
6) Create a safety plan
7) Discuss the research basis for suicide-specific psychotherapies
Facts about suicide 20 minutes
Theories of suicide 20 minutes
Phenomenology of suicide 20 minutes
Interviewing suicidal patients 30 minutes
Assessing risk 90 minutes
Safety planning 60 minutes
Means safety 60 minutes
Treatment of suicidality 30 minutes
Liability and suicide 30 minutes
The material in this course draws on research findings and clinical practices that are widely accepted. Specifically, suicide risk assessment is regarded as a core competency for clinicians (Rudd, Cukrowicz, & Bryan, 2008), has a well-established scientific basis (APA,
2003), and its clinical practice has been described in detail (e.g., Rudd, 2014). Moreover, material in this course conforms to the suicide risk assessment competencies recommended by the American Association of Suicidology.
Major healthcare and suicide prevention organizations have pressed mental health professions to become adept at addressing suicidal emergencies and treating suicidality (Joint Commission, 2016). Safety planning is regarded as a best practice by multiple private and federal organizations, including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The interventions and treatments discussed in this course each have at least one randomized control trial that supports their efficacies.
American Psychiatric Association. (2003). Practice guideline for the assessment and treatment of patients with suicidal behaviors. American Journal of Psychiatry, 160(11
Joint Commission. (2016). Detecting and treating suicide ideation in all settings. Sentinel
Event Alert, 56, 1-7.
National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention: Transforming Health Systems Initiative Work Group. (2018). Recommended standard care for people with suicide risk: Making health care suicide safe. Washington, DC: Education Development Center, Inc.
Rudd, M. D., Cukrowicz, K. C., & Bryan, C. J. (2008). Core competencies in suicide risk assessment and management: Implications for supervision. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 2(4), 219-228. doi:10.1037/1931-39188.8.131.52
Rudd, M. D. (2014). Core Competencies, Warning Signs, and a Framework for Suicide Risk Assessment in Clinical Practice. In M. K. Nock (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Suicide and Self-Injury (pp. 323-336). New York: Oxford University Press.
CPA is co-sponsoring with SFPA. The California Psychological Association is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. CPA maintains responsibility for this program and its contents. Important Notice: Those who attend the workshop and complete the CPA evaluation form will receive 6.0 continuing education credits (pending approval). Please note that APA CE rules require that we give credit only to those who attend the entire workshop. Those arriving more than 15 minutes after the start time or leaving before the workshop is completed will not receive CE credits.