A Suicide Prevention Primer for Professional Counselors
Dr. Julia L. Whisenhunt, Assistant Professor of Counselor Education and College Student Affairs, The University of West Georgia
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT
Suicide is a major worldwide public health issue (Bebbington et al., 2010). Known suicide rates for 2011 totaled approximately 39,000 per year, making suicide the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. (McIntosh & Drapeau, 2014). Rates of known suicide attempts are even higher, with approximately 25 suicide attempts for every completed suicide (McIntosh & Drapeau, 2014). Given that only approximately 61% of persons who attempt suicide seek medical attention for the attempt (USDHHS, 2010), actual rates of suicide attempts are likely much higher. As such, it is critically important for professional counselors to be able to identify suicide risk. Accordingly, in this presentation, we will discuss the following: (a) common risk factors and warning signs for suicide, (b) common protective factors that may insulate clients from suicide risk, (c) ways to effectively communicate with clients about suicide, and (d) resources for both professional development and clinical intervention in the area of suicide prevention.
At the conclusion of this webinar, participants should be able to:
1. Identify common risk factors for suicide.
2. Identify warning signs for suicide.
3. Identify protective factors that may reduce suicide risk.
4. Summarize appropriate communication strategies used in suicide risk assessment.
Julia L. Whisenhunt, Ph.D., LPC, NCC, CPCS, is an Assistant Professor of Counselor Education and College Student Affairs at the University of West Georgia. She is also the Director of Curriculum and Training for suicide prevention for the PREVENT@UWG comprehensive campus suicide prevention program. Dr. Whisenhunt has presented in the areas of self-injury, suicide, creativity in counseling, sandtray therapy, play therapy, post-traumatic growth, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, supervision, and Motivational Interviewing. Her primary research foci are self-injury and suicide. Dr. Whisenhunt has clinical experience working with child, adolescent and adult clients who experience a variety of therapeutic issues ranging from problems of adjustment to active psychosis. She has provided therapeutic intervention in partial hospitalization, school, and college counseling settings.
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