How to Conduct a Suicide Assessment CE Course

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.


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