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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 220254 Find in a Library
Title: Suicide Assessment: Being Able to Say It Out Loud
Journal: Journal of Police Crisis Negotiations  Volume:7  Issue:2  Dated:2007  Pages:131-136
Author(s): Michael J. McMains Ph.D.; Kelly Shannon Ph.D.
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 6
Type: Instructional Material
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In order to ensure the clear communication of a suicide risk assessment between an on-scene commander and the supervisor of a team that is negotiating with a barricaded person threatening suicide, this article outlines explicit clues for suicide risk that might be included in a clear and comprehensive suicide risk assessment.
Abstract: Some of the clues that pertain to the risk for an imminent suicide are divided into behavioral clues (e.g., giving away prized possessions and making final wishes known to others); situational verbal clues (e.g., "Nothing will make it better" and "Tell my family goodbye for me"); time reference clues (e.g., "It won't matter after today"); and relationship clues (e.g., "They will be sorry when they find me"). The article also notes that although verbal statements can be clues to suicidal intent, the actual risk for an imminent suicide attempt is likely to vary according to the context in which verbal statements occur. The significance of a verbal statement for a risk assessment varies according to the age of the person and the severity of the stressful events that may have precipitated the barricaded threat of imminent suicide. Other contextual factors that should be considered are the public display surrounding the suicide (the more public the staging the lower the risk), the stated time frame for the suicide attempt, and the lethality of the chosen suicide method (the more lethal the method the greater the risk). Other factors to consider are prior suicidal behavior and the individual's resources (e.g., intelligence, coping skills, and problem solving behavior). The article concludes with suggestions for training crisis negotiators in how to conduct and effectively communicate a risk assessment for an imminent suicide attempt.
Main Term(s): Police crisis intervention
Index Term(s): Communications; Crisis intervention training; Suicide; Suicide prevention; Threat assessment; Victimization risk
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