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Watch the webinar: Understanding and managing suicidal risk

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Suicidal risk and understanding how best to respond was the subject of a recent webinar for professionals working with brain and spinal injured clients.

Assessments including how to assess the different levels of risk, including looking out for red flags, primary drivers and secondary drivers, were all addressed to empower people to deal with what is a hugely difficult topic.

The ‘Understanding Suicidal Risk – A Guide for Professionals’ event, held by Sphere Memory and Rehabilitation Team with donations going to brain injury recovery charity SameYou, came in response to rising levels of case managers and other professionals reporting clients experiencing difficulties and displaying risk factors.

Life-changing brain, spinal cord and complex injuries can be significant factors in increasing suicidal risk, as a result of the huge spectrum of difficult emotions a person faces in dealing with their new reality, with this only being amplified by the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

And for the professionals dealing with clients going through such trauma, suicidal thoughts and acts can cause great distress to them and it can be difficult to know how to react and what action to take. 

Dr Katherine Dawson, director and consultant clinical neuropsychologist at Sphere, says: “People hear ‘suicide’ and can panic. There is understandable fear associated with it, and often those around the individual may inadvertently respond in quite a reactive way, wanting to try and fix the issue. We recognise that this can cause significant distress and anxiety and it can be hard to know what to do in the face of suicidal risk.

“Hopelessness is the most immediate risk factor for suicide so instilling hope is essential. The assessments we will consider in the webinar outline how to assess the different levels of risk including looking out for red flags, primary drivers and secondary drivers. 

“We focus on how to complete a suicide interview collaboratively, leading to a clear plan of risk escalation and services to involve at specific times. 

“Through putting the spotlight on a suicide intervention management plan, we can look at this in a thoughtful and containing way, reducing the risk of reactivity and decreasing anxiety.”

Watch the webinar here:  

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