Methods: A 22-item survey was administered to a cohort of 13 DBT interns pre and post a 16-hour suicide risk assessment and management workshop.The survey, titled Concerns About Treating Suicidal Patients (CATSP), included questions such as, “I worry I will fail to notice risk factors or warning signs for suicide in my patients” and “I worry I don’t have the needed training to competently treat suicidal individuals.” Answers ranged from 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 7 (Strongly Agree). Survey results from this year’s cohort that have not yet been collected will also be presented.
Results: Mean response was calculated for both pre and post workshop assessments, followed by percent change and t-test for significance. Overall, students were significantly less worried about treating suicidal patients at post-test.
Post assessment, students reported significantly decreased worries about having the training needed to competently treat suicidal individuals (t=0.026), losing a clinical license following a patient suicide (t=0.008), failure to notice warning signs for suicide (t=0.005), and making mistakes in treating suicidal patients (t=0.002).
The least decrease in worries, although still statistically significant, occurred for emotional devastation following a patient suicide (t=0.005), being sued as the result of work with suicidal patients (t=0.005), feeling guilty if a patient committed suicide (t=0.01), and the amount of documentation involved in treating suicide (t=0.002).
An increase of worry was seen for worries of hospitalizing a suicidal patient when it is not needed or ineffective (t=0.02).
Implications: These findings indicate that targeted suicide risk assessment and management training significantly decreases students’ worries about treating suicidal patients. These results are consistent with findings from Lungu et. al (2012). Based on these results, recommendations to incorporate suicide risk assessment and management training in all accredited Social Work master’s programs are strongly urged.