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Suicide Assessment

Working with a client at increased risk of suicidality requires empathy, regular assessment, and continual awareness of their risk and protective factors.

The Suicide Risk Assessment is a tool for gathering information about a client’s current suicidality and past suicide attempts. This two-page handout covers the following areas:

  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Plan
  • Means
  • Protective factors
  • Previous attempts

The open-ended nature of the assessment can help the client have an honest conversation, allowing for more detailed responses and a more accurate risk assessment. Note that this assessment is not diagnostic and cannot predict whether a client will attempt suicide.

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1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).

2. Bryan, C. J., & Rudd, M. D. (2006). Advances in the assessment of suicide risk. Journal of clinical psychology, 62(2), 185-200.

3. Menon, V. (2013). Suicide risk assessment and formulation: An update. Asian journal of psychiatry, 6(5), 430-435.

4. Murray, D. (2016). Is it time to abandon suicide risk assessment? BJPsych open, 2(1), e1-e2.

5. Ryan, E. P., & Oquendo, M. A. (2020). Suicide risk assessment and prevention: Challenges and opportunities. Focus, 18(2), 88-99.

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