- Analyze the standard components of an adolescent suicide assessment and explain the importance of each component in assessing for suicide risk and why. Make sure to support your analysis with evidence from the articles by Sommers-Flanagan and the Child and Adolescent Suicide Risk Factors Warning Signs (link pasted at the bottom of page).
- Describe at least one component you might add or take away from the suicide assessment and explain why.
- Explain two differences between suicidality and self-mutilation in terms of the severity of each issue. Then, explain how severity relates to possible intention of a child or adolescent presenting with suicidality or self-mutilation. Be specific and use the week’s resources and current literature to support your response.
Referral Issues Suicidal children and adolescents come in all sizes and shapes, from all backgrounds, and with many different reasons for their suicidality. You will probably find you can work comfortably and effectively with some young clients who are suicidal and cannot do so with a small subset of one type or another. Accurate assessment is an important component of determining the appropriate treatment approach and setting for young suicidal clients. Honest selfscrutiny is another. If you find yourself working with a suicidal youth who is a poor fit for you, it is better to refer quickly and connect that youth with another professional as early as possible in the treatment process. The literature suggests that young clients who attend therapy because of suicidality don’t usually stay long, and they handle mid-therapy referrals even worse than do most clients (Pfeffer et al., 1991) . Pause for Reflection Stop for a minute and imagine the kinds of distressed or angry young people you are drawn to, and the kinds you are uncomfortable with or even frightened of. What are some steps you might tal<.e to increase your awareness and tolerance in this area of mental health work? Try to identify types of situations in which you think it would be best for you to refer a suicidal young client to a different professional. How could you work on your personal issues and competence to make it more likely you could deal with the sort of situation you find especially stressful? Consultation As discussed at the outset of this chapter, suicide assessment and management is complex and stressful for counselors. We recommend that counselors routinely obtain consultation regarding assessment and management of suicidal youths. To aid counselors working with a suicidal youth, we provide a checklist of general suicide assessment procedures in Table 8.1. TableB.1 Checklist of General Suicide Assessment Procedures 1. Assess risk factors. __ 2. Ask about suicidal thoughts. __ 3. Assess suicide plans. 4. Assess self-control. __ 5. Assess client intent or goals associated with suicidal behaviors. __ 6. Obtain psychiatric or collegial consultation. __ 7. Determine appropriate action (degree of intervention). Assessment and Management of Young Clients Who Are Suicida1119