iCarol’s Built-in Suicide Safety Assessment Tool
When your staff and volunteers are working with a help-seeker either on the phone, in-person, or online, there may come a time where assessing that person’s risk for suicide becomes necessary in order to help them stay safe. Several years ago the Lifeline developed suicide safety assessment standards based on industry research. We then took these standards into consideration and developed a tool for use in iCarol that guides your volunteers and staff through that assessment process. Like other forms in iCarol, this guide can be customized to your needs.
The use of this assessment tool is not limited just to suicide risk — because iCarol Contact Forms are configurable by your authorized staff, the form can be customized assess risk of:
- Homelessness/Housing loss
- Stalking Harassment and Risk Profile (SHARP) Risk Assessment
- Intimate partner/domestic violence
- Sexual violence
- Food insecurity
- Elderly Risk Assessment (ERA)
- And more
When using this tool as a suicide risk assessment modeled after Lifeline standards, the template begins with three basic and direct questions that gauge whether the person is thinking of suicide today, if they’ve thought about suicide very recently, and whether they have ever attempted to kill themselves.
Instructions guide the worker to proceed if any of the questions receive a ‘Yes’ answer. A fourth question asking about suicide in progress can help determine imminent risk, and our ‘Help tip’ reveals important questions to help quickly clarify this risk and begin rescue if that is part of your helpline’s policies.
Four areas influencing risk are explored: Desire, Capability, Intent, and Buffers and Connectedness. Each section contains a number of topics, each with a ‘Help tip’ providing suggestions on the types of questions or statements that could be worked into the conversation. This can help your staff build rapport with the client and allows the interaction to continue naturally, rather than feeling like a questionnaire.
As they talk with the client, they can select any of three options for each area which best captures where the client is for that particular topic. As these options are selected, our tool weights these answers and provides a measurement that helps gauge the overall level of risk.Next, your worker can discuss and record the client’s reasons for living and reasons for dying. This can be a compelling tool for discussion and an important piece of the conversation. When someone is at risk for suicide, finding and focusing on reasons for living as compared to their reasons for dying can be a powerful exercise that helps them stay safe.
Finally, your worker can record the level of risk as determined through their discussion with the client or from the measurement tool. A series of instructions can help guide them towards resolution, referral, and other outcomes.
Again, because our forms are customizable to your own practices, this guide can be used exactly as delivered or you can make your own adjustments and edits if needed.
Providing a safe place for open, honest discussion about suicide, free of judgment, is the cornerstone of any crisis service. This powerful safety assessment tool will help your volunteers and staff feel supported, equipped, and confident when working with callers at risk for suicide, all while helping your center conform with industry standards.
Want to know more about our Suicide Safety Assessment tools, or want to enable them in your system? Please , or existing users can open a support ticket.