WMHCA: Suicide Assessment, Management, and Treatment

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6 CEs (Meets WA state Suicide requirement) Recorded: Spring 2023

Ever since the 2014 Matt Adler Act was signed into law, mental health professionals have been required to receive training in assessment, management, and treatment of suicide risk as part of their continuing education requirements. This six-hour presentation meets the new Washington state CE requirements, and provides a practical, hands-on introduction for both new and experienced practitioners. The presentation will cover the assessment, management, and treatment of suicide risk in depth. The Assessment section will address informed consent and confidentiality, interviewing, risk factors and warning signs, accessory behaviors and co-morbid issues, suicide contagion, and using risk protocols. The Management section will explore immediate threats, active ideation, and emergencies, alongside distal threats, passive ideation, and para-suicidal behavior such as self-injury. Methods of reducing risk of contagion in a community following a suicide are reviewed, alongside the documentation of persisting suicidal risk. In the Treatment section, participants will be trained in the use of safety planning and coping skills training. Throughout the training, participants will have the opportunity to watch videos, engage in role-playing, and complete case studies in teams.


Participants will:

  • Understand legal reporting and documentation requirements for working with suicidal clients, compared to homicidal clients
  • Know risk factors and protective factors for suicide attempts among different social and cultural populations, including population-specific data to clients in the military/veterans
  • Learn to evaluate risk of imminent harm through self-injurious behaviors or lethal means, including objects, substances and actions commonly used in suicide attempts and their lethality, the importance of screening for and restricting access to lethal means in effective suicide prevention, communication strategies for talking with clients and theirsupport people about lethal means, and how to recognize non-suicidal self-injury and other self-injurious behaviors and assess the intent of self-injury through suicide risk assessment
  • Learn how to structure an interview to gather information from a client on suicide risk,protective factors, and warning signs, including substance use
  • Practice strategies for safety planning and monitoring use of the safety plan, including how to conduct means restriction counseling with suicidal clients, particularly in regard to firearms, and continuity of care through transitions such as discharge and referral
  • Learn empirically-informed approaches to the treatment and management of suicide risk, including strategies from dialectical behavior therapy alongside medical interventions
  • Determine when to involve third party support systems in the treatment and management of suicidal clients Consider when to refer suicidal clients to more intensive and restrictive settings on the continuum of care, and identify appropriate actions and referrals for various levels of suicide risk
  • Differentiate between suicidal vs. non-suicidal self-injury
  • Examine special considerations for suicidal risk among veteran populations through a guided case study and practice skills through small group work

Outline of the Curriculum Plan

Case Study, part 1 (15 minutes) U.S. Case Law and Risk Factors (60 minutes) Suicide Assessment (90 minutes) Case Study, parts 2, 3, 4 (45 minutes) Suicide Management (60 minutes), includes Risk of Imminent Harm Case Study, part 5 (15 minutes) Suicide Treatment (60 minutes) Case Study, part 6 (15 minutes) Closing activity (5 minutes) 360 minutes total (6 hours) Approved Course by the Department of Health #TRNG.TG.60730076-SUIC

EPDC CE Hours: 6
Presenter: Emily Hughes LMFT, SUDP, CMHS

Emily is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Substance Use Disorder Professional and a clinical supervisor with the state of Washington. Emily has a private practice that is telehealth based with an office in South King County. She sees adults, teens and couples. Emily has also been involved in training and teaching and has done so with NW ATTC, the Washington Mental Health Counselor’s Association, City University of Seattle and she has been a guest speaking at a variety of schools in the greater Seattle area. Throughout her career she has worked in crisis management and stabilization primarily with youth and young adults. This work was done in a community based mental health agency, as the lead for a crisis outreach team and as a mental health evaluator at Seattle Children’s Hospital emergency room. In her work with clients, her areas of expertise include working with teens, young adults, adults and couples in life transition and mood-related disorders, and around self-harm/suicide assessment, prevention, intervention, and management, the intersection of co-occurring disorders and in clinical supervision.