Year: 2022 Source: Smith College Studies in Social Work. (2022). Published online 27 July 2022. SIEC No: 20220660
In 2020, almost 46,000 individuals in the United States died from suicide, 1.2 million adults made a suicide attempt, and 12.2 million had serious suicidal thoughts. Clinicians in diverse practice settings will work with clients experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Due to a strong association between trauma and suicidality, suicidology experts have recommended the use of trauma-informed practice when working with clients with suicidal thoughts and behaviors. However, although there are guidelines for trauma-informed care and for working with clients with suicidality, there are no models, explanations, or discussions about how clinicians can provide trauma-informed care in their work with individuals with suicidal thoughts and behaviors. This conceptual paper describes examples of the application of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s trauma-informed care principles to clinical work with individuals with suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Strategies are provided for each of the guiding principles, and case examples used to illustrate strategies, barriers, and potential pitfalls.