Recognizing and Reacting to Risk Signs for Patient Suicide

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Evidence-based suggestions for developing an effective clinician-client relationship built upon trust and honesty will be shared, as well as a review of relevant scope of practice issues for audiologists. Audiologists need to be prepared if a patient threatens self-harm. Many patients do not spontaneously report their suicidal thoughts and intentions to their care providers, so we need to be alert to warning signs. Information about the strongest predictors of suicide, how to ask about suicidal intentions, and how to assess the risk of suicide will be presented. Although it is our responsibility to recognize suicidal tendencies and have a plan for preventive intervention, it is not our responsibility to conduct a suicide evaluation. Tips for collecting critical information to be provided to qualified professionals will be shared, as well as additional information about how and to whom to disclose this information. A list of suicide warning signs will be reviewed as well as some additional suggestions for how to react when a patient discloses his or her suicidal intent. A review of available resources (for both the patient and the clinician) will be provided, along with instructions for how and when it is appropriate to access them.

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