Session: Social Work Graduate Training in Suicide Assessment and Intervention: Addressing the Gaps (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

170 Social Work Graduate Training in Suicide Assessment and Intervention: Addressing the Gaps

Friday, January 18, 2019: 5:15 PM-6:45 PM
Golden Gate 2, Lobby Level (Hilton San Francisco)
Cluster: Research on Social Work Education (RSWE)
Dana Alonzo, Fordham University, Shahnaz Savani, University of Houston and Robin Gearing, University of Houston, Downtown
The rising rates of suicide attempts and completions in children and adolescents are a significant and growing concern. Approximately 2 million U.S. adolescents attempt suicide annually, with almost seven hundred thousand receiving medical attention for their attempt. Approximately 35% of social workers report experiencing the death of a client to suicide and up to 87% report working with a suicidal client within the past year. Yet, social workers often receive limited training focused on assessing, managing and treating suicidal clients in graduate training. To address this serious gap, this workshop will focus on innovative methods for incorporating strategies, tools, and skills into the clinical practice classroom related to working effectively with youth at risk of suicidality. The teaching methodologies utilized in this workshop will include interactive lecture, small group exercises and discussion, role play and case study review. To more effectively assess youth for suicidality it is essential to assess for both risk and protective factors. The case study will highlight research over the past thirty years that has extensively investigated characteristics associated with child and adolescent suicide, including: 1) psychiatric factors (e.g., depression, family history, etc.); 2) demographic factors (e.g., gender, age, etc.); and, 3) relational factors (e.g., parent-child relationship, abuse history, etc.). Similarly, examination of protective factors against suicide in youth will be incorporated in the interactive workshop, including social support network, family cohesion, peer relationships, a safe school environment, etc. Three essential domains of intervention approaches (crisis management, psychosocial evidence-based practices, and psychopharmacology) for youth at risk of suicide will also be explored through case vignettes. Participants will engage in exercises to explore strategies for connecting innovative teaching methods to clinical practice and educational tools and resources for incorporating this material into the classroom will be presented. What the Work Adds to Our Knowledge on the Topic: Research has also found that experiencing a client suicide during the professional training is common . Notwithstanding the high rate at which mental health clinicians experience suicidal clients, they often receive limited training (i.e., under 2 hours in an MSW program) focused on assessing, managing and treating this population. Given the limited integration of suicide materials graduate curricula, and the increasing rate of suicide among children and youth, there is a pressing and increasingly fundamental need for mental health clinicians to effectively identify, assess, manage and treat at risk youth. This workshop is designed to specifically address this need and add to the knowledge of how to address this gap in training. Learning Objectives: 1) Participants will understand key evidence-based strategies and approaches for assessment, management and intervention with suicidal youth clients across diagnoses that may be integrated into graduate curriculum. 2) Participants will be able to identify unique risk factors for and protective factors against youth suicidality and how to effectively teach this material to graduate students. 3) Participants will leave equipped with techniques for incorporating material regarding youth suicide prevention and intervention into existing practice courses and for developing new courses focused on this issue.
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