How to Conduct a Suicide Assessment CE Course Preview

Accreditation Information

Course Title: How to Conduct a Suicide Assessment

Release date: July, 2020

Expiration date: July, 2022

Estimated time to complete activity: 1.5 hours

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This activity is jointly provided by Medical Education Resources and Symptom Media.Suicide Assessment

Target Audience

Psychiatrist, psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, substance abuse counselors, allied health professionals, nurses, general practice physicians, and students, interns, and trainees of these disciplines.

Underlying Need for this Course

The purpose of this activity is to increase the learners’ overall knowledge and skill in conducting a suicide assessment with special attention to risk.

  1. Many different factors are involved in what leads to a completed suicide.
  2. Individuals who make a commitment to suicide will most likely not volunteer this information unless skillfully interviewed.
  3. Most individuals will deny or minimize suicide intention/risk right before suicide.
  4. There is no guaranteed indicator or predictor for suicide.

Suicide is 10th leading cause of death, 3rd for individuals 15-24 years old.  Over 90% have significant mental health issues/diagnosis and/or substance abuse issues which are often undiagnosed, untreated, or both.  There are many mistakes a clinician can make during an interview /questioning which decrease the validity of the assessment or the accuracy /honesty of the responses.  90% of individuals who die by suicide communicated their intent.

  • Clinicians need to be knowledgeable in signs/symptoms.
  • Clinicians need to be competent in assessing, interviewing, questioning which leads to providing a safe and understanding environment for disclosure.
  • Clinicians need to be able to be specific in addressing and asking about suicidal thoughts, behaviors, and attempts.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course learners will be able to:

  1. Identify predisposing and high risk factors, as well as protective factors
  2. Identify warning signs
  3. Conduct an assessment of lethality including intent/severity, means, access
  4. Distinguish between suicidal ideation/gestures/attempt
  5. Be aware and able to overcome challenges in assessing for suicidality

Meet your instructor: Monica L. Martocci, MA, LMFT received an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University, a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Colorado, and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (License #LMFT36882). Monica has over 25 years of clinical experience in diverse settings and has developed, implemented, and supervised several programs that are recognized locally and nationally as being exemplary. She has a broad background in program development and service delivery, clinical supervision, and training for inpatient residential treatment and outpatient day treatment programs working primarily with adolescents, adults, veterans, and their families. Monica has experience with many different client populations in a wide variety of settings, including those with severe and persistent mental illness, co-occurring disorders, addictions, homelessness, and trauma. She has worked closely with the Dept. of Mental Health, Dept. of Children and Family Services, Probation including juvenile and adult justice systems, Drug Court and Veterans Court, LAUSD and school settings, Hospitals, Regional Centers, Adoptions and Foster Family Agencies, VA, Clinical Studies/Drug Research, and has consulted on a number of television shows as an expert on families, addictions, eating disorders, and trauma. In addition, she is a seasoned presenter in nationwide conferences on the topics of trauma and recovery, and co-occurring disorders.

Monica is currently working as Chief Clinical Officer for CLARE Foundation. She also maintains a private practice in WLA and Long Beach specializing in the treatment of children, adolescents, families, active duty military/veterans, as well as individuals and couples. Focus is on addictions, co-occurring disorders, trauma, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, child/sexual abuse, domestic violence, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, mood disorders, grief and loss, school and behavioral issues, ADHD/ADD, personality disorders, self-harm, self-esteem, and interpersonal and relationship issues.

Course Agenda

The content of this course includes material designed to assist learners including students, counselors, therapists, social workers, nurses, and doctors in understanding the suicide assessment interview along with challenges, assessment of risk and protective factors, definitions of suicidal behaviors, warning signs, management and treatment options.

The course slides provide the learner with the purpose and components of conducting suicide assessments, objectives, relevant course content, and references. In addition, video case studies which demonstrate different symptoms, warning signs, behaviors, and risk factors. Expert commentary is provided along with video which aids in more complete learning experience, to identify severity of symptoms, with subject matter quizzes.

Physician Credit

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of Medical Education Resources (MER) and Symptom Media. MER is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation
Medical Education Resources designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Nursing Credit
Medical Education Resources is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

This CE activity provides 1.5 contact hours of continuing nursing education.

Medical Education Resources is a provider of continuing nursing education by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider #CEP 12299, for 1.5 contact hours.

Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest
Medical Education Resources ensures balance, independence, objectivity, and scientific rigor in all our educational programs. In accordance with this policy, MER identifies conflicts of interest with its instructors, content managers, and other individuals who are in a position to control the content of an activity. Conflicts are resolved by MER to ensure that all scientific research referred to, reported, or used in a continuing education activity conforms to the generally accepted standards of experimental design, data collection, and analysis. MER is committed to providing its learners with high-quality activities that promote improvements or quality in health care and not the business interest of a commercial interest.

The faculty reported the following financial relationships with commercial interests whose products or services may be mentioned in this activity:

suicide assessment

The content managers reported the following financial relationships with commercial interests whose products or services may be mentioned in this activity:

Method of Participation
There are no fees for participating in and receiving credit for this activity (or insert fee amount if applicable). During the period July, 2020 through July, 2022, participants must 1) read the learning objectives and faculty disclosures, 2) study the educational activity, 3) complete the posttest by recording the best answer to each question, 4) complete the evaluation.

A statement of credit will be issued only upon receipt of a completed activity evaluation form and a completed posttest with a score of 70% or better.


  1. Van Orden, K. A., Witte, T. K., Cukrowicz, K. C., Braithwaite, S. R., Selby, E. A., & Joiner Jr, T. E. (2010). The interpersonal theory of suicide. Psychological review, 117(2), 575.
  2. Hughes, D. (1999). The Harvard Medical School Guide to Suicide Assessment and Intervention. Psychiatric Services, 50(12), 1642.
  3. Shea, S. C. (1999). The practical art of suicide assessment: A guide for mental health professionals and substance abuse counselors. John Wiley & Sons Inc.
  4. Garlow, S. J., Rosenberg, J., Moore, J. D., Haas, A. P., Koestner, B., Hendin, H., & Nemeroff, C. B. (2008). Depression, desperation, and suicidal ideation in college students: results from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention College Screening Project at Emory University. Depression and anxiety, 25(6), 482-488.
  5. Jacobs, D., & Brewer, M. (2004). APA practice guideline provides recommendations for assessing and treating patients with suicidal behaviors. Psychiatric Annals, 34(5), 373-380.
  6. Work Group on Suicidal Behaviors. (2003). Practice guideline for the assessment and treatment of patients with suicidal behaviors. American Journal of Psychiatry Supplement, 11, 160.
  7. Simon, R. I. (2008). Assessing and managing suicide risk: Guidelines for clinically based risk management. American Psychiatric Pub.
  8. Rodgers, P. L., Sudak, H. S., Silverman, M. M., & Litts, D. A. (2007). Evidence-based practices project for suicide prevention. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 37(2), 154-164.
  9. O’Carroll, P. W., Mercy, J. A., & Steward, J. A. (1988). CDC recommendations for a community plan for the prevention and containment of suicide clusters. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: Supplement, 37(S6), 1-12.


The content and views presented in this educational activity are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Medical Education Resources and/or Symptom Media. The authors have disclosed if there is any discussion of published and/or investigational uses of agents that are not indicated by the FDA in their presentations. Before prescribing any medicine, primary references and full prescribing information should be consulted. Any procedures, medications, or other courses of diagnosis or treatment discussed or suggested in this activity should not be used by clinicians without evaluation of their patient’s conditions and possible contraindications on dangers in use, review of any applicable manufacturer’s product information, and comparison with recommendations of other authorities. The information presented in this activity is not meant to serve as a guideline for patient management.

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