Clinical care for suicidality is challenging. Clinicians are told to empathically and collaboratively engage with suicidal service members; until someone attempts or dies by suicide and clinicians are asked why they didn’t engage in unilateral action to ensure the service member’s safety. Clinicians are expected to prevent suicide when there is no way to predict if, let alone when, suicides will occur, and the efficacy of suicide intervention is conditional on evidence-based practices not widely available. This presentation addresses these tensions and offers evidence-based solutions to the management and treatment of suicidality as well as clinical maxims from 25 years of treating suicidal individuals.
Target Audience: For behavioral health/healthcare providers who treat military personnel, veterans, and their families.
Instructional Level: Introductory
1) Differentiate between management and treatment of suicidality
2) Distinguish at least three drivers of suicidality
3) Appraise key elements of effective treatment of suicidality
This activity is approved for 1.5 continuing education credits (CEs)
The Center for Deployment Psychology is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Center for Deployment Psychology maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
Kate Comtois, PhD, MPH has been working in the area of health services, treatment development, and clinical trials research to prevent suicide for over 25 years. Her graduate training in community/clinical psychology focused on achieving clinical ends through systemic interventions with socio-culturally diverse populations. Dr. Comtois has strived for ecologically valid clinical trials of suicide interventions including Caring Contacts, CAMS, and DBT; funded by NIMH, NIDA, Department of Defense, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Dr. Comtois’ work is also focused on bringing suicide prevention science into clinical practice as the Director of Dissemination and Implementation for the Military Suicide Research Consortium, founder and past president of the Society for Implementation Research Collaboration (SIRC), and co-investigator on the ongoing “Targeted Assessment and Context-Tailored Implementation of Change Strategies” (TACTICS) study with 8 military treatment facilities.
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