Working Well with the Suicidal Patient: Research-Informed Approaches to Ethical Suicide Assessment and Management

Friday, November 9th, 2018

Andrew White, PhD

McMenamins Kennedy School
5736 NE 33rd Ave, Portland, Or 97211

This 6 CEU course fulfills ethics requirements for license renewal of Psychologists, LCSWs, and LPCs

Groups of 5 or More

If  you are interested in this training on a date not offered, we can schedule most trainings at our site or yours, to meet your group’s needs.


Suicide remains a significant public health problem. Within the United States alone, over 40,000 people take their life by suicide annually, approximately one person every 13 minutes. Another half a million people are treated in Emergency Departments for suicide attempts in the U.S. on yearly basis. Family members and others also experience a profound suffering and often stigma as they wrestle with the fact that their loved one took their own life.

Despite the prevalence of the problem, many clinicians describe feeling ill-prepared to assess, manage, and treat suicidal patients; many worry about making a wrong decision and corresponding ethical dilemmas when working with a suicidal patient. Given the scope of the problem and the life or death consequences involved in the decision making process, many states have now mandated training in suicide assessment and management for licensed health professionals.

This one day workshop is designed for mental health providers and other healthcare professionals who provide direct-care services and, as a result, will be required to assess and manage a suicide crisis at some point during their professional career.

Topics covered will include:

  • General guidelines when treating suicidal patients.
  • Ethical principles applied when treating suicidal patients.
  • Special considerations and risk factors of various cultures.
  • Special considerations when working with veteran populations.
  • Short-term and long-term direct and indirect indices of imminent suicide risk.
  • Developing a conceptual framework for suicidal behaviors and treatment planning.
  • Evidence-based procedures for suicide risk assessment and management.
  • Evidence-based procedures for assessing and managing non-suicidal self-injurious behaviors.
  • Imminent risk crisis strategies to reduce suicide risk.
  • When and for whom is hospitalization for suicidal patients helpful?
  • Best-practice documentation strategies to reduce suicide risk and manage liability risk.
  • Mood improvement protocol.
  • Postvention considerations and approaches following a completed suicide.


Following completion of this one-day training, participants will be able to:

  • Summarize general guidelines to keep in mind when treating a suicidal patient.
  • Summarize special considerations and risk factors for various cultures.
  • Describe special considerations when working with veterans.
  • Describe short-term and long-term direct and indirect factors associated with imminent risk of suicide.
  • List protective factors and warning signs associated with suicide risk.
  • Develop a conceptual framework for suicidal behaviors and treatment planning.
  • Describe evidence-based procedures for suicide risk assessment and management.
  • Describe evidence-based procedures for non-suicidal self-injurious behaviors risk assessment and management.
  • Describe imminent risk crisis strategies to reduce suicide risk.
  • Summarize the data to date with respect to benefits, hazards, and alternatives to hospitalization for suicidal patients.
  • Describe best-practice documentation strategies to reduce suicide risk and manage liability risk.
  • Explain how and when to apply mood induction principles with suicidal patients.
  • Explain Postvention considerations and approaches following a completed suicide.


This course is designed for mental health professionals who will be required to assess and manage a suicidal crisis at some point in their career and who are interested in learning strategies to manage risk and provide ethical evidence based care for individuals experiencing suicidal crisis.


There are no perquisites or requirements for this course other than a desire to learn.


Participants who complete this training day will earn 6 CE hours.

Portland DBT Institute has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6326.
Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Portland DBT Institute is solely is responsible for all aspects of the programs.


Individual Registration Fee
Group Registration Fee for 5 or more
Student Registration Fee

Early Registration Discount:
For those registering 30 or more days in advance a $25 per person discount will be given.


A $60.00 handling fee will be deducted upon cancellation. Refund requests by fax or email must be received two weeks before the start date. In addition, the fees are non-transferrable.

PDBTI reserves the right to cancel any program due to under-enrollment, or any course due to work stoppages, instructor illness or inclement weather. If a course is cancelled, PDBTI is responsible for refunding only the course fee.


If you are in need of accommodations during your time in Portland, McMenamins Kennedy School is a memorable and comfortable place to stay. The hotel is located minutes from Portland International Airport as well as to shopping in downtown Portland.

Since its 1915 opening, this historic elementary school has been a beloved fixture of its Northeast Portland neighborhood. McMenamins renovated the once-abandoned scholastic gem and turned it into Portland’s most unique hotel. Here you’ll find 57 comfy guestrooms with private baths and telephones (some fashioned from former classrooms complete with original chalkboards and cloakrooms – others with an author’s theme), a restaurant, multiple small bars, a movie theater, soaking pool, gift shop and a brewery (just wait until the principal hears about this!).

Information on Trimet bus, lightrail, and street car transportation can be found at