As a Licensed Professional Counselor and Approved Clinical Supervisor, I often speak with mental health professionals who have been touch by suicide – through their own families and social circles, through their clients and their clients’ families, and – yes – some of you psychotherapists who are struggling with your own thoughts of suicide, too.
If you are in the field of mental health and have not yet been touched by suicide, it’s just a matter of time until you will be.
Here are several resources to support you on your journey.
Most Useful Website on Suicide Intervention and Prevention
My colleague and friend Licensed Clinical Social Worker Stacey Freedenthal blogs about suicide intervention and prevention at www.SpeakingOfSuicide.com.
I have found it to be an invaluable resource for therapists and for the general public alike.
Some of her most useful posts for mental health professionals include:
- How to Navigate Confidentiality and Contact with Family after a Client’s Suicide
- For Therapists Who Want – or Need – to Improve Their Suicide Prevention Skills
- The Use of No-Suicide Contracts
- Why I Came Out of the Suicide Closet
- Documentation – Do It Well, for the Client’s Sake and Yours
Most Accessible Book on Suicide Intervention for Therapists
I can also recommend Stacey Freedenthal’s book Helping the Suicidal Person: Tips and Techniques for Professionals.
It’s an excellent desk reference for therapists full of practical and effective tips that should be at every therapist’s fingertips.
Email Discussion List for Therapists Only
Whether you’ve lost a client to suicide or you’ve lost your own family member, friend, or colleague, The American Association of Suicidology’s webpage for Clinician Survivors is a place for you to find support.
Included in the AAS website is a link to a page that provides access to a listserv specifically for therapists who have been touched (in any way) by suicide.
The website is not pretty but the resources are excellent.
Family Contact after Suicide
And, here is a video of a panel discussion sharing clinical perspectives about Family Contact after Suicide – Clinical, Family, and Legal Perspectives.
It was made at 50th Annual Meetings of the American Association of Suicidology in April 2017.
Here are some of the questions tackled:
- Are we legally and ethically allowed to initiate contact with the family?
- How do we manage confidentiality issues with parents or spouses?
- Is it OK to express condolences?
- Can we attend the memorial services?
- What are our ethical and clinical responsibilities in the aftermath of a death by suicide?
- What is the best way to deal with a family’s anger after a death by suicide?
A Reminder of Why We Do the Work
As I was doing some research on suicide, I came across this American poet and activist, Andrea Gibson
She They reminded me and I’m reminding you of why we do the work we do. [Updated 2-13-18]