Course Preview

  • Counseling
  • Marriage and Family Therapy
Hours: 2 Contact Hours
Author(s): April R. Smith, PhD
Peer Reviewer(s): Thomas E. Joiner, Jr., PhD
Item#: C6521
Contents: 1 Course Book (58 pages)

Suicide Risk in Adults: Assessment and Intervention

Price $19.95
Item # C6521
When available, the Online Course format is included with the hard copy, eBook, or audio book formats!

Release Date: August 4, 2016

Expiration Date: August 4, 2019

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States across all ages and is disproportionately higher in some populations. The purpose of this course is to assist clinicians to understand factors that contribute to suicidal behavior, conduct comprehensive suicide risk assessments, and engage patients in brief, empirically supported interventions to reduce risk for death. This intermediate-level course is designed for mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, and psychologists. This course meets an increasing demand of many mental health professionals seeking information about working with suicidal clients and conducting empirically supported suicide risk assessments.

This course examines methods of assessing suicidal danger in adult clients who are seeking mental health care. The course describes assessment methods including Jacob’s recommended protocol for suicide assessment, the Joiner Assessment Model, and Shea’s CASE Assessment Model. Each model is explained in detail and case scenarios help illuminate appropriate assessment protocols and techniques. Clinical decision making considerations and examples of documentation are presented. Tables outlining important assessment procedures and a decision making tree are included to assist clinicians in conducting thorough, evidence based risk assessments and in determining necessary levels of intervention. Varied approaches to intervention are discussed in detail, including safety planning and the use of crisis cards. The course provides practical examples of intervention implementation through the use of sample interviews, case scenarios, and outlines of the different brief, empirically supported interventions. References and resources for those interested in pursuing further education on this topic are provided at the end of the course.

Course Objectives

  • Define terms related to suicide and suicidal behavior.
  • Identify specific risk factors and warning signs in adult patients that increase their risk for suicidal behavior.
  • Describe effective and efficient assessment of adults who may be at risk for suicide.
  • Explain approaches to intervention and safety planning to manage individuals exhibiting suicidal ideation and other risk factors for suicide.
  • Recognize essential components.

April R. Smith, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She is also a faculty associate of the Center for Human Development, Learning, and Technology, and director of the Peripheral and Affective Research Center, both at Miami University. Dr. Smith received her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Florida State University. Her work focuses on biological and psychological risk factors that contribute to disordered eating and suicidal behavior; specifically, her research examines the high rates of suicidality and self-injury among individuals with disordered eating. Dr. Smith received an Early Career Investigator Fellowship from the Academy for Eating Disorders to study therapeutic evaluative conditioning for eating disorders and a research grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to examine cognitive risk factors for eating disorders and suicide. Dr. Smith is a member of the Military Suicide Research Consortium. She has written more than 50 peerreviewed articles and chapters.


Thomas E. Joiner, Jr., PhD, received his doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. He is the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at Florida State University, Tallahassee. Dr. Joiner’s work focuses on the psychology, neurobiology, and treatment of suicidal behavior and related conditions. The author of more than 500 peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Joiner was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Residency Fellowship for his work on suicidal behavior in clients. He has received numerous awards, including the Young Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression and the Shneidman Award for excellence in suicide research from the American Association of Suicidology, and research grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and various foundations. He has authored or edited more than 15 books. Dr. Joiner maintains a part-time clinical and consulting practice, specializing in suicidal behavior and including legal consultation on the subject of suicide. He also consults with NASA’s Human Research Program and is co-director of the Military Suicide Research Consortium, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.

  • Courses must be completed on or before the expiration date noted in the course description above.
  • You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion.
  • Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that this course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools’ policy not to accept commercial support.
  • All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content.