Year: 2016 Source: Academic Psychiatry.(2014).38(50):526-537. DOI:10.1007/s40596-014-0200-1 SIEC No: 20160032

Suicide and suicidal behaviors are highly associated with psychiatric disorders. Psychiatrists have significant opportunities to identify at-risk individuals and offer treatment to reduce that risk. Although a suicide risk assessment (SRA) is a core competency requirement, many lack the requisite training and skills to appropriately assess for suicide risk. Moreover, the standard of care requires psychiatrists to foresee the possibility that a patient might engage in suicidal behavior, hence to conduct a suicide risk formulation (SRF) sufficient to guide triage and treatment planning. An SRA gathers data about observable and reported symptoms, behaviors, and historical factors that are associated with suicide risk and protection, ascertained by way of psychiatric interview; collateral information from family, friends, and medical records; and psychometric scales and/or screening tools. Based on data collected via an SRA, an SRF is a process whereby the psychiatrist forms a judgment about a patientÕs foreseeable risk of suicidal behavior in order to inform triage decisions, safety and treatment plans, and interventions to reduce risk. This paper addresses the need for a revised training model in SRA and SRF, and proposes a model of training that incorporates the acquisition of skills, relying heavily on case application exercises.