Mental Health Professionals

When Suicidal Thoughts Do Not Go Away

When Suicidal Thoughts Do Not Go Away

The popular image of someone who is in danger of suicide goes like this: A person has suicidal thoughts. It’s a crisis. The person gets help, and the crisis resolves within days or weeks. That’s the popular image, and thankfully it does happen for many people. But for others, suicidal thoughts do not go away. […]

Continue Reading

How to Navigate Confidentiality and Contact with Family After a Client’s Suicide

How to Navigate Confidentiality and Contact with Family After a Client’s Suicide

The ethical and legal obligations of confidentiality remain after a psychotherapist’s client dies, but how much? There is a lot of confusion around this. Here, I address what therapists can say or do with the client’s family while honoring the client’s confidentiality. First, be warned: I am not a lawyer, so my opinions represent a […]

Continue Reading

HelpingTheSuicidalPerson.com: A New Website for Professionals

HelpingTheSuicidalPerson.com: A New Website for Professionals

  On the final page of my upcoming book about helping suicidal individuals, I made a promise. Well, it wasn’t explicitly a promise, but it might as well have been one: “To learn more about how to help the suicidal person, visit this book’s companion website: www.helpingthesuicidalperson.com. The site contains information about books, trainings, online courses, […]

Continue Reading

Would an Anti-Self-Harm Oath Reduce Veteran Suicide?

Would an Anti-Self-Harm Oath Reduce Veteran Suicide?

Veteran suicide is a national tragedy. Every day, 20 veterans kill themselves. The veteran suicide rate is more than double that of the general population (35.3 vs. 15.2 per 100,000). (Those stats and others are available .) Congressman Brian Mast, a Republican veteran from Florida, thinks he has an answer: Require military personnel, upon leaving […]

Continue Reading

Beyond Magic: How Do We Detect Suicidal Thoughts?

Beyond Magic: How Do We Detect Suicidal Thoughts?

No objective test exists for suicidal thoughts – no X-ray to detect broken hope, no CAT scan to reveal intolerable emotional pain, no blood test to expose toxic intentions. This reality is disappointing, even devastating. People understandably want professionals to predict and prevent suicide. For example, in the aftermath of the pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally […]

Continue Reading

For Therapists Who Want – or Need – to Improve Their Suicide Prevention Skills

For Therapists Who Want – or Need – to Improve Their Suicide Prevention Skills

NOTE: Updated information about practice guidelines, training opportunities, and books can be found at HelpingTheSuicidalPerson.com. If you are a psychotherapist, it is likely that your graduate studies included precious little training in suicide prevention. You can get that knowledge in other ways. To name a few: Practice Guidelines Several organizations have published guidelines for clinical practice […]

Continue Reading

“Woefully Inadequate”: Suicide Prevention Training in Graduate Schools

“Woefully Inadequate”: Suicide Prevention Training in Graduate Schools

With the exception of psychiatrists, most mental health professionals have received very little, if any, training in graduate school on suicide-related topics: “Competence in the assessment of suicidality is an essential clinical skill that has consistently been overlooked and dismissed by the colleges, universities, clinical training sites, and licensing bodies that prepare mental health professionals.” […]

Continue Reading

Wait, Who Is A Suicide Survivor Again?

Wait, Who Is A Suicide Survivor Again?

Across the Internet and elsewhere, people apply the term suicide survivor to two different groups of people: 1) people who struggled with suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide, and survived, and 2) people who were never suicidal at all, but who lost a loved one to suicide.  In a post last year, I defined a suicide survivor […]

Continue Reading

What is a Suicide Gesture?

What is a Suicide Gesture?

Many clinicians and researchers advocate for abandoning the term “suicide gesture,” but its use still persists. Over the last few years, several definitions have been reported: “…A suicide gesture is like a one person play in which the actor creates a dramatic effect, not by killing or even attempting to kill himself, but by feigning […]

Continue Reading

Is Suicide Inevitable for Some People?

Is Suicide Inevitable for Some People?

A 61-year-old man, E.H., survived suicide attempts, received care for depression in psychiatric hospitals, and battled alcoholism for many years. His father died by suicide. E.H. was convinced that one day he, too, would kill himself. In 1961, he fatally shot himself in the head. Was his suicide inevitable? Ernest Hemingway, the famous author and the […]

Continue Reading

Top