ACT 4: Suicide Prevention and Grieving

Hours: 5 hours

Credits: 3 credits

Course Prerequisite: Community Addictions Training Certificate.

Professional Certification:

Graduates of this course may be eligible for certification through the Canadian Council of Professional Certification (CCPC) in cooperation with the Canadian Counsellors and Therapists.

Course Description:

The first part of the course will provide instruction to develop knowledge about symptoms of suicide and the skill development needed to conduct client assessments. Students will also be given time in class to practice skill development by conducting suicide assessment interviews in role-play exercises. The second part of the course focuses on the grieving process, working through the grieving process, and counseling a grieving client.

Purpose of Course:

This course is intended to do the following:

  • To provide students with general background knowledge on suicide; and suicide prevention; and grieving (bereavement support), focusing on:
    • suicide and grief as a personal experience, where applicable;
    • the specific components of suicide prevention, grief, and bereavement support.
  • To provide students with an opportunity to learn, discuss and demonstrate beginning skills in suicide prevention, through the risk assessment, and in bereavement support.

Course Expectations:

During this course, students will:

  • Examine their personal attitudes, feelings and values about suicide and grieving in order to separate these out from those of other systems: client’s agency’s, and community’s.
  • Consider suicide and grieving from both an Aboriginal and non‑Aboriginal perspective.
  • Actively participate in the in-class discussions and activities, and will complete all class related exercises and assignments, including the assessment.
  • Develop and enhance their suicide prevention and bereavement support skills through role plays, reading, supervision, personal sharing, ongoing professional development and, as needed, their own personal therapy.
  • Practice/demonstrate suicide risk assessment interview skills, including:
    • initiating contact with the client,
    • assessing the degree of suicidal risk,
    • demonstrating supportive listening, and
    • contracting with the client.
  • Explore their own grief issues and consider what they might need for their own healing.

Course Objectives

The objectives may be thought of as a road map of the learning journey ahead.  They indicate what the students can expect to learn during the course. They can also be used as a study guide when the students review what has been learned prior to completing the written assessment at the end of the course. The written assessment at the end of the course will be based on these objectives.

When the students have completed this course, they will be able to:

  1. Define suicide.
  2. Identify the four categories of suicide.
  3. Discuss relevant suicide statistics.
  4. Recognize and list the signs and symptoms of a person at risk for suicide.
  5. Name and explain the four stages of the Listening Model.
  6. Conduct a suicide risk assessment.
  7. Identify and list personal resources for high risk suicidal clients.
  8. Identify and list local resources for high risk suicidal clients.
  9. Discuss suicide prevention.
  10. Discuss suicide postvention protocol and rituals.
  11. Define bereavement, grief and mourning.
  12. List a variety of losses a person can experience.
  13. List several reactions to loss.
  14. Name the five stages of grieving.
  15. Explain the importance of grieving.
  16. List the seven bereavement support skills.
  17. Name the five basic parts of effective bereavement support and give the time focus for each part.
  18. Discuss emerging issues which may impact suicide and grieving.
  19. List several ways in which a person can help themselves through their loss.

Instructional Methods

  • Lecture
  • large and small group work and discussion
  • skill building through small group and individual exercises and role plays
  • suicide risk assessment role play
  • individual and small group homework assignments and readings
  • personal journaling
  • support groups
  • written assessment

Course Evaluation

  • Participation and Attendance 20%
  • Suicide Risk Assessment Exercise 30%
  • Written Assessment 50%
  • Total 100%

There will be a written assessment or test at the end of this course which will be used in part to determine the final grade. In this course, 50% of the final grade will be based on the written assessment score, 30% on the Suicide Risk Assessment exercise and 20% will be based on course participation and attendance. The risk assessment exercise is mandatory.  The written assessment or test will consist of a series of multiple choice questions which are based on the learning objectives for the course. There may be one or more question for each learning objective. This means that the students may be tested on any part of the content contained in the Student Manual and accompanying course material.

Attendance and punctuality in all aspects of training are mandatory including assigned evening support group meetings. Attendance and participation marks are forfeited as follows:

  • Absence for each half hour or portion thereof ‑ 1 mark deducted from participation.
  • Absence from Cultural Resource Evening ‑ 5 marks deducted from participation.
  • The required hours for this course are 45 contact hours.

Course Material

  • Student Manual, Suicide Prevention and Grieving
  • Friedman, Russell and James, John W. The Grief Recovery Handbook: The Action Program For Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses. Revised Edition. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1998.

Schoeneck, Therese S. Hope for the Bereaved: Understanding, Coping and Growing Through Grief. A Handbook of Helpful Articles Written by Bereaved People for Bereaved People and Those Who Want to Help Them. Syracuse, NY: Hope For The Bereaved, Inc., 1995.