Ten Most Common Errors During A Suicide Intervention Based Based on on research research of of 215 215 medical medical students, students, master master level level counselors, counselors, addiction addiction counselors, counselors, and and crisis
crisis line line staff staff by by Robert Robert A. A. Neimeyer Neimeyer #1: Superficial Reassurance Youre so young and have so much to live for! How can you think of killing yourself? Come on now. Things cant be
that bad. Make sure responses dont come across as trivial or superficial. Rather than being reassuring a teen may feel even more isolated and misunderstood. #2: Avoidance of Strong Feelings When faced with intense depression, grief, or fear dont retreat into professionalism, advice giving, or passivity. Do not move into an analytical discussion of why
they feel that way. Do use empathy skills by putting expressed feelings into words. With all the hurt youve been experiencing it must be impossible to hold those tears in. #3: Professionalism You can tell me. Ive been trained to be objective. Intended to put a person at ease this
can come across as disinterest or hierarchical. Be empathetic. #4: Inadequate Assessment of Suicidal Intent Most common among physicians and master level counselors. You say youre suicidal, but whats really bothering you? Time pressures, personal theories, or discomfort
with intense feelings. Find out what they have been thinking, for how long, specific plans, and previous attempts. #5: Failure to Identify the Precipitating Event It sounds like everything collapsed when your brother died three years ago, but what has happened recently to make you feel even worse? That dying is the only way out? Ask about any
recent key incidents or events. This can help move interventions toward necessary action steps. #6: Passivity Go on. Im here to listen. Call back some other time when you can talk more easily. 25% of counselors and helpers took a passive clinical stance. Early stages of suicide
interventions need to be active, engaging, empathetic, with the helper structuring the interaction. #7: Insufficient Directness At a minimum, a verbal no suicide contract should be obtained. If you keep feeling suicidal remember you can call back. Ok we have an appointment set up for you, you have my phone # for tonight, and Ill stop by the
school to see how its going tomorrow. #8: Advice Giving Just ignore the person bothering you. Concrete action ideas are helpful, but after trust has been established. Try not to worry about An action plan should it. come from their tentative Remember, focus on the positive. ideas, rather than from the authoritative advice of the helper.
#9: Stereotypic Response Shes a borderline, attention getting female. Focus on the individuality of each person. During a crisis an attempt to use shortcuts can lead toward stereotypic assumptions. #10: Defensiveness Anger or rejection is common during intense crisis.
How could you ever help me, have you ever tried to kill yourself? Dont engage in power plays, quick witted sarcasm, or put downs. Maintain a caring stance.
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