Module D: Non-Pharmaceutical Treatment and Management

CE Credits: 2.25


Even though many suicidal patients are ultimately given some sort of medication to manage their symptoms, this module looks at nonpharmaceutical treatment, which is usually the initial—and often best, over the long term—treatment. First, the module looks at ways that CMs and other healthcare professionals can identify the level of suicidal risk, in part by using motivational interviewing (a technique of open-ended questioning) and by adhering to “do’s and don’ts” of talking with suicidal patients (such as, don’t tell them that their suicide would hurt others). The module then describes how, in different situations, one should combine pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy— using medication to help manage symptoms, but not to the exclusion talk therapy, or family therapy or CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). Finally, the module details various kinds of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), such as exercise or traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and how they can help patients with suicidal ideation.

Learning objectives: After completing this module the case manager will be able to:
» Review the application of immediate interventions for acute suicidal ideation
» Recognize ways to support patient autonomy and foster commitment to living
» Describe the Do’s and Don’ts when working with patients exhibiting suicidal thinking
» Discuss the use of ongoing psychotherapy and counseling for chronic suicidal ideation
» Review the use of complementary and alternative medicine

Advance your professional practice:: Case managers often act as the vital front line liaison between a suicidal patient and the transdisciplinary team. From initial contact through ongoing care, CMs need to understand the breadth of non-pharmaceutical treatment options so that we can facilitate and organize appropriate and timely treatment for the patient with members of the team.


Improve organizational performance: Suicidal ideation, behaviors and attempts account for a high number of emergency department visits and critical-care hospitalizations. When we can have a thorough understanding of suicidal ideation and active communication among team members, we can share critical information and provide support and additional perspectives.