One of the more frightening child and adolescent issues is suicide. Suicide is a tragic event and is the third leading cause of death among adolescents (Somers-Flanagan & Somers-Flanagan, 2007, p. 155). Assessing suicidal children and adolescents as well as those who self-mutilate can be very difficult for many clinicians, and it takes skill to assess these issues accurately. Clinicians must be able to differentiate between suicidality and self-mutilation in order to assess the problem and develop interventions effectively.
In most cases, suicide and self-mutilation (self-harm) assessments are conducted using clinical interviews. The most foundational principle in evaluating for self-harm is for the clinician to establish a positive working relationship with the child or adolescent. A valid assessment flows from a good working relationship because trust is established and communication is open. A good relationship does not negate the need to assess clinically the severity of the issue; therefore, clinicians must be skilled in assessing for self-harm.
For this Assignment, review the media program Mood Disorders and Self-Harm,and consider the differences between suicidality and self-mutilation. Also, consider why it is critical to assess these two conditions accurately. Also, review Suicide Assessment Procedures, Documentation, and Risk Factors (Sommers-Flanagan & Sommers-Flanagan, 2007, p. 179–180) and Child and Adolescent Suicide Risk Factors and Warning Signs located in this week’s resources. Think about the importance of the suicide assessment to determine suicide risk in conjunction with common risk factors and warning signs.
The Assignment (2–3 pages):
- Analyze the standard components of an adolescent suicide assessment and explain the importance of each component in assessing for suicide risk and why. Make sure to support your analysis with evidence from the articles by Sommers-Flanagan and the Child and Adolescent Suicide Risk Factors Warning Signs.
- Describe at least one component you might add or take away from the suicide assessment and explain why.
- Explain two differences between suicidality and self-mutilation in terms of the severity of each issue. Then, explain how severity relates to possible intention of a child or adolescent presenting with suicidality or self-mutilation.