Suicide Assessment: Do you have the right tools?

Our mental health team is working hard to put together a crisis response program. 

As part of this, we have decided to all get trained to administer the COLUMBIA-SUICIDE SEVERITY RATING SCALE (C-SSRS).  I was amazed at how much I learned in one 30 minute web-training.   

The nice part is that it’s available to anyone and is free!

What do you do when a student comes into your office saying they cut himself/herself last night?  What do you do when they tell you they took a bunch of their mom’s pills? 

You need a plan for response.  Over the 21 years I have been a counselor, I have had many students seek me out with these situations.  It is sad t say that up until now, we have had no formal rating scale to use with students to determine their level of crisis.  While I am still no expert, I do feel comfortable in using this assessment as a starting point for further referral.  The training also has several case studies to help explain the difference between what is and what is not a suicide attempt.  If you are a counselor working with students, this is a good training to help with your school’s own crisis response protocol. 

Below you will find a picture of the website with links to the training.  You will also see my completion certificate and the rating scale. 

While I hope that I never have to use this, I know we are are prepared.  I want to add that in our district we would do this as a team with another counselor for collaboration and consultation.  Never go solo in a crisis situation.  Always have backup.

(Click picture to go to web link)

(Click picture to go to the web link)

I hope to post more about our crisis plan, but for now it is still a work in progress.  In the meantime, how prepared is your school?  What procedures do you have in place? 

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