Suicide Assessment and Prevention for Washington Health Professionals TRC

About the Course

The course is for all Washington health professionals who care for individuals and veterans at risk or who are survivors of suicide.

Course Overview
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) (2016), suicide is a serious public health problem that has long-lasting effects not only on the individual, but also on the family and on the community. In addition, statistics from the CDC (2016) clearly outline that beginning with the 10-14 age group until the age of 65 years, suicide is in the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States. In Washington State during 2017, suicide was the 8th leading cause of death and the state ranks 22nd in the nation for suicides (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 2017). In the United States one individual dies by suicide every eight hours (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 2017). In Washington State, suicide is the first leading cause of death in the 10-14 age group, second leading cause of death in the 15-34 age group; and third leading cause of death in the 35-44 age group (Washington State Department of Health, 2016).

This course provides the states’ required information about the background and statistical data of suicide within the US and Washington State, etiology of suicide, suicide risk assessment, treatment and management, as well as risk of imminent harm with communication strategies, with a special focus on the veteran population.

Learning Objectives
  • Identify risk factors for suicide.
  • Identify the reasons for an increased risk among the veteran population.
  • Outline the prevalence of suicide within the medical setting.
  • Understand the way to talk to patients at risk for suicide.
  • Screen patients for depression using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). 
  • Screen the severity of suicidality using the Columbia Suicide Risk Assessment.
  • Address safety for patients who are risk for suicide through lethal means removal and creation of a crisis response plan.
  • Manage the patient's depression and level of suicidality.
  • Plan interventions related to the patient's depression and underlying causes.
  • Understand when to refer a suicidal patient to a mental health specialist.
  • Identify the resources to assist health care providers in managing suicidal risk in patients.
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