Preventing Suicide through Training

The Sophie Fund is providing scholarships for healthcare professionals in Tompkins County to attend a two-day online training in youth suicide prevention featuring some of the nation’s leading experts.

The program, “Suicide Safer Care in Clinical Practice: A training designed to strengthen clinical skills to provide caring and effective services to youth at risk for suicide and their families,” takes place March 21-22.

The training, which covers identifying at-risk individuals in everyday medical appointments, best practice treatments, engaging family in suicide care, how social media impacts suicidal behaviors, and other topics, is sponsored by The Wellness Institute and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. (See full program, below.)

Free registration for physicians, primary care clinicians, health and mental health clinicians, and social workers serving Tompkins County is supported by a grant from The Sophie Fund. CE credits are available for $25 at cost to registrant.

To request a registration link for free registration, healthcare professionals can email The Sophie Fund at providing their name, degree level, place of employment (or name and address of practice, if self-employed), and email address.

Scott MacLeod, co-founder of The Sophie Fund, said the training is part of his organization’s initiative to advance the Zero Suicide Model with healthcare providers in Tompkins County.

Zero Suicide is an emerging standard designed to save lives by closing gaps in the suicide care offered by healthcare providers. The model provides a practical framework for system-wide quality improvement in areas including training staff in current best practices, identifying at-risk individuals through comprehensive screening and assessment, engaging at-risk patients with effective care management, evidence-based treatments, and safe care transition.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Americans aged 10-34. Over the past five years, Tompkins County has averaged 12 suicide deaths per year. Another 1,600 parents, children, siblings, friends, and spouses may be impacted by the resulting psychological, spiritual, and/or financial loss.

An estimated 300 people in Tompkins County may attempt suicide every year. While rates for other causes of death have remained steady or declined, the U.S. suicide rate increased 35.2% from 1999 to 2018.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teen girls are confronting the highest levels of sexual violence, sadness, and hopelessness ever reported to the CDC. Three in five girls felt persistently sad and hopeless, a marker for depressive symptoms, in 2021, up nearly 60 percent from 2011, the CDC announced on February 13.

Suicide Safer Care in Clinical Practice

A training designed to strengthen clinical skills to

provide caring and effective services to youth at risk for suicide and their families

March 21, 2023, 1-4:30 p.m.

A Framework for Understanding Suicide

Jill Harkavy-Friedman, PhD

Columbia University; American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)

Introduction to Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for Adolescents (DBT-A)

Alec Miller, PsyD

Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Co-Author, Dialectical Behavior Therapy with Suicidal Adolescents

Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS)

Kelly Posner Gerstenhaber, PhD

The Columbia Lighthouse Project, Columbia University

Safety Planning Intervention (SPI)

Gregory K. Brown, PhD

Penn Center for the Prevention of Suicide, University of Pennsylvania; Co-Developer, CT-SP, and Suicide Safety Plan

Hope Kit and Caring Contacts

Kelly Green, PhD

Center for the Prevention of Suicide, University of Pennsylvania

Support Systems for High-Risk Individuals

Cheryl King, PhD

Youth Depression and Suicide Prevention Program, University of Michigan

Cultural Considerations in Suicide Prevention

Tami D. Benton, MD

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

March 22, 2023, 1-4:30 p.m.

988 and Innovations in Crisis Care

Richard T. McKeon, PhD, MPH

Chief, Suicide Prevention Branch, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

David Covington, LPC, MBA

RI International Behavioral Health Link Zero Suicide; Crisis Now

Engaging Family in Suicide Care: Attachment-Based Family Therapy

Guy Diamond, PhD

Drexel University; Developer, Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT)

Effects of Social Media on Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors

Jacqueline Nesi, PhD

Brown University; NIMH and AFSP-funded Researcher

Jonathan B. Singer, PhD, LCSW

Loyola University Chicago; Author, Suicide in Schools

Suicide Prevention in Clinical Practice: Practical Considerations

Jill Harkavy-Friedman, PhD

Columbia University; American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)

David Jobes, PhD

Catholic University of America; Creator and Developer, Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS)

Learning Objectives

  • Describe a framework for understanding suicide.
  • Review how to ask about risk factors and identify warning signs of suicide.
  • Explain the fundamentals of the Biosocial Theory of Emotion Dysregulation.
  • Review the evidence base for DBT with teens and five problem areas and skills modules.
  • Describe the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS).
  • Discuss the benefits of using the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) to assess suicide risk.
  • Describe a methodology of helping at-risk individuals create their personalized safety plan for implementation during times of crisis.
  • Describe how to utilize the Hope Kit intervention and explain the evidence and process of implementing “Caring Contacts” for suicide prevention.
  • Describe ways school or social connectedness has been linked to adolescent well-being and suicide risk.
  • Describe the core components of the Youth-Nominated Support Team intervention (YST).
  • Discuss cultural disparities and considerations in caring for individuals with elevated suicide risk.
  • Describe how 988 and crisis centers can support practitioners’ work and their patients.
  • Explain the theoretical foundation of Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT) and discuss the purpose of the five ABFT treatment tasks.
  • Explain the benefits and risks of social media in relation to suicidal thoughts and behavior among adolescents.
  • Identify strategies to help families manage digital media use in the context of psychiatric treatment.
  • Describe steps to take to prepare one’s practice for suicide prevention.
  • Describe how to follow up when a person states they are thinking about suicide.
  • Discuss balancing privacy with lifesaving care.

If you or someone you know feels the need to speak with a mental health professional, you can call or text the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 9-8-8, or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.