Suicide Assessment Is Necessary
Although there is much information to gather, there are no shortcuts to suicide assessment. Risk assessment requires directness, intentional questioning, and careful listening. The essential skills and conditions of counseling (empathy, reflections, restatements, attending, active listening, etc.) are important in suicide assessments and intervention.
Information that is gathered during assessment should be documented .
Knowing when a suicide assessment is necessary
There are recommendations that counselors conduct suicide risk assessments on all clients presenting for therapy (Laux, 2002). It is common practice that suicide ideation is assessed through intake forms and intake interviews
Specifically, clients presenting with depression or depressive symptoms or in states of crisis should be questioned for suicidal ideation. If using depression inventories, special attention should be given to questions related to suicidal thoughts (such as question 9 on the Beck Depression Inventory).
As the client tells his/her story, the counselor should be listening (and looking) for the presence of risk factors and protective factors . As the number of risk factors increases particularly in the absence of protective factors, suicide risk increases and should be questioned.
As a counselor attends to the client, language that reflects feelings of hopelessness and
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