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Addressing Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors for Program Administrators


1. All of the following are misconceptions or myths within agencies, except:

A. Talking about suicide will put the idea in the minds of clients.

B. Raising the issue of suicidality during early treatment will detract from the business at hand.

C. Screening for suicidality is the job of a substance abuse counselor.

D. If suicidal thoughts or behaviors are not asked about, the counselor and the program won’t be legally at risk if the patient attempts suicide or dies from suicide.

2. The suicidal behavior of a client in treatment for substance abuse disrupts treatment for all clients and occupies valuable client and staff time that could be spent on recovery goals.

A. True

B. False

3. To address treatment issues raised by suicidality, substance abuse programs need to have policies and procedures detailing which of the following?

A. How to respond promptly and consistently to suicidal crises.

B. Seeking advice and support from other clinical staff and supervisors.

C. Following up with clients and their families.

D. All of the above.

4. Suicidal crises in the agency offer the opportunity to evaluate how existing policies and procedures could be strengthened and adapted to better suit needs.

A. True

B. False

Levels of Program Involvement and Core Program Components

5. At a minimum, all programs providing substance abuse treatment should be:

A. Suicide-aware

B. Suicide-capable

C. Suicide-enhanced

D. All of the above

6. In suicide-aware programs, all clinical staff members have education in which of the following?

A. Risk factors, warning signs, and protective factors for suicide.

B. Recognizing misconceptions about suicide.

C. Recognizing clients’ direct and indirect expressions of suicidal thoughts.

D. All of the above.

7. Most often, suicide-capable programs are administratively linked to hospitals and inpatient mental health services.

A. True

B. False

Implementing and Supporting Programming for Clients with Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors

8. Administrative commitment is demonstrated by all of the following, except:

A. Advocating for services for suicidal clients.

B. Holding conferences with local medical professionals in the community.

C. Following through on suggestions and plans for programming.

D. Delivering a consistent message that fosters support for change and program improvement.

9. Substance abuse counselors often have to make important decisions about legal and ethical issues when a client has suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

A. True

B. False

10. Administrator support in substance abuse programs includes all of the following, except:

A. Hearing the concerns and needs of clinical supervisors in regularly scheduled staff meetings.

B. Mitigating treatment disagreements among counselors.

C. Support training related to suicidality.

D. Participating in developing interagency relationships for the consultation and referral of clients who are suicidal.

Legal and Ethical Issues in Addressing Suicidality in Substance Abuse Programs

11. All of the following are common areas of malpractice in working with suicidal clients, except:

A. Failure to notify.

B. Failure in assessment.

C. Failure in treatment.

D. Failure to safeguard.

12. Programs may be held responsible for which of the following?

A. Not identifying clients at risk for suicide and/or taking steps to ensure their safety.

B. The actions of employees who break confidentiality.

C. Failing to provide clinical supervision to counselors or other professional staff.

D. All of the above.

13. Most substance abuse counselors do not have the skills to conduct a suicide risk assessment.

A. True

B. False

Implementing Treatment and Referrals to Reduce the Risk of Suicide

14. It is important for administrators to oversee substance abuse counselors to ensure that they practice within the scope of their professional competencies and skills.  To transcend the limits of acceptable practice creates malpractice liability for counselors and their agencies.

A. True

B. False

Ethical Issues

15. If a program is not adequately equipped to treat a client that has suicidal thoughts and behaviors, they must discharge that person.

A. True

B. False

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