Select Page

070. Hope-focused Suicide Prevention: Risk Assessment Tools, Intervention Skills, and Survivor Support


Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D.
Jennifer Cisney Ellers, M.A.
Kevin Ellers, D.Min.
Rita Schulte, M.A.







Suicide is a major public health issue in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suicide rates rose 33% between 1999 and 2019. It is critical for all psychologists, licensed mental health professionals, pastors, first responders, and all people helpers to increase their skills in recognizing warning signs and taking appropriate action if they encounter a person at risk. This intensive will cover a broad range of issues in the fight to lower suicides in this country, including an updated look at demographics and the picture of suicide across all age groups and ethnicities. Risk factors and warning signs will be reviewed, as well as the latest research on the factors that lead to suicidal ideation and attempts. Suicide assessment and intervention will be addressed as appropriate for mental health professionals and non-clinicians, including lethal means restriction counseling, appropriate referral of those with active suicidal ideation, and ethical considerations with suicidal individuals. This intensive workshop will also review intervention and grief for those who lose someone to suicide. 

Learning Objectives 

Participants will:

  1. Analyze current data and demographics on suicide in the U.S., including age, gender, and ethnicity 
  2. Describe risk factors and warning signs for suicidal behavior 
  3. Summarize comorbidity of mental illness and suicidal ideation with a focus on diagnoses that have the highest suicide rates 
  4. Analyze research on suicidal behavior to help bring understanding to key dynamics present in suicidal individuals 
  5. Recognize the role of social isolation on suicide risk and the potential impact of the pandemic 
  6. Evaluate assessment and intervention tools appropriate to participants’ level of training, such as psychologists, licensed mental health professionals, pastors, pastoral counselors, lay counselors, or first responders 
  7. Prepare to conduct counseling on lethal means restriction for families of suicidal individuals 
  8. Discuss the unique grief of survivors following a suicide 
  9. Outline key strategies in helping friends and family following a completed suicide 
  10. Review plans for communities, schools, churches, and other organizations for suicide prevention and response