Suicide Risk Assessment

Suicide Risk Assessment is a significant and necessary procedure for counselor to evaluate the extent of suicide tendencies of their clients. Over the past decades, suicide has been seen as a growing behavioral crisis in the society. In the United States alone, for every 100,000 people ages 15 to 19, eight teenagers die of suicide, while an estimate of 13 young adults die of suicide for every 100,000 people ages 20 to 24, based on the 2004 survey of the U.

S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, 2008). This statistics report may reflect a relatively low percentage of suicide cases; however, reports on the cases of suicide attempts are another story. The study of the relevant factors which bring about the tragic cases of suicide can be recalled to show several causes which include poverty, depression, stress, and other psychiatric disorders.

As a growing societal problem, (dangling modifier for ‘suicide’, revise) it is not just the national government, academic institutions, and families that play important functions of slowing down and combating the crisis, medical practioners such psychologists and psychiatrists play a significant function as well. The psychologists and counselors who talk about and deal with the problem with a face-to-face encounter with the patient themselves also play a significant role in reducing the suicide tendencies among disturbed and depressed individuals.

The process of Suicide Risk Assessment is a highly crucial and sensitive method. More often than not, counselors would have to open up the issue to the client in a progressive manner but using a direct way of questioning. However, there are also times when counselors tend to get apprehensive in opening the topic which oftentimes disturbs the patient and hinders them from opening up and disclosing their thoughts. As a starting point for formulating a treatment or intervention plan for suicide risks, suicide risk assessment involves several factors that need to be considered.

The first one would be the “self-reported risk. ” This factor considers the personal thoughts of the patient about his or her idea about the danger of suicide. This often requires the counselor to determine whether the client can admit to him- or herself that he or she has thoughts about committing suicide. The second one would be the “suicide plan” which involves more specific details aside from the thought of committing suicide, such as the specific means, time, and place to carry out the act.

This helps the counselor to evaluate the client’s suicide potential since specific plans and ideation are said to be the best indicators of suicide risks (Haley, 2004 qtd. in Hood, 2007). Another factor that the counselor needs to consider is the “suicide history” of the client. This is crucial in the entire suicide risk assessment procedure since this provides the counselor with a background of past suicide attempts of the patient or anyone in his or her family. This also provides a basis for the client’s current thoughts on suicide.

Also, “psychological symptoms” must also be considered since it is the psychological distress which can most likely push the idea of suicide into an individual’s mind. In this process, the counselor should to inquire about any incident of sleeping problems, depression, and guilty, worthless, and hopeless feelings. Moreover, mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other psychotic disorders must be observed in this aspect. The “environmental stress” also appears to be a relevant factor for a person’s tendency to commit suicide.