Module B: Assessment and Prevention

CE Credits: 2.0


Suicide does not happen without warning, and this module explores the various ways that case managers and other healthcare professionals can spot a possible suicide attempt—and then intervene. The module begins by showing, through a case study, how quick intervention from a case manager can avert a volatile situation. The module then describes the warning signs of suicide (such as experiencing extreme mood swings, or giving away possessions) as well as harm-risk behaviors (such as cutting oneself) that may be precursors to suicide attempts. The module then details a variety of suicide screening instruments, most of which just take 5-10 minutes to administer, and the barriers that healthcare professionals may encounter in identifying suicide risk (such as the persistent belief that suicidal thoughts can be controlled through will power, and the misguided notion that alcoholics rarely commit suicide).

Learning objectives: After completing this module the case manager will be able to:
» Review the benefits of early detection and intervention
» Describe risk factors and warning signs
» Distinguish among types of harm-risk behaviors
» Discuss the types of suicide-risk screening instruments and elements of a workup
» Identify potential barriers to suicide prevention

Advance your professional practice:: As the gatekeepers for our patients’ overall care, case managers have an opportunity to identify patients at risk for harming themselves. If we can provide careful and thoughtful assessment of patients’ suicidal risk, we can intervene and guide those patients into immediate, and perhaps life-saving, treatment.


Improve organizational performance: Suicide attempts often lead to complicated hospitalizations, and long, costly recoveries for patients. When our team members learn how to assess a patient’s suicide risk accurately, we can prevent suicide attempts, promote better awareness of suicide and foster social change.