Increasing self-efficacy in risk assessment and management of suicidal clients : training perspectives from mental health providers
Suicide is one of the top ten leading deaths among adults and children in the U.S. Suicidal clients are assessed using various risk assessment tools and by professionals who are trained in various theoretical and procedural frameworks. Self-Efficacy Theory (Bandura, 1996) and logic modeling (Kaplan & Garrett, 2005; Lafferty & Mahoney, 2003; McLaughlin & Jordan, 1998; Millar, Simeone & Carnevale, 2001) provided the theoretical framework for this study. This study aimed to (1) describe the characteristics of service providers working in the field, and (2) explore how service providers view their efficacy in suicide risk assessment and management of suicidal behaviors. A sample of 340 service providers (85.5% female) was recruited from nine different training sites across the state of Missouri. Descriptive statistics, bivariate analysis and, logistic regression analysis were employed to address three research questions and related hypotheses. Of the participants, 85.5% were female. Most of the participants (80%) had completed education with a master's degree, and 71% were licensed professional counselors. Slightly less than half used Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (40%) as their primary approach to practice, and over half of the participants had experience working with a suicidal client (88%). Most of the participants had prior training in assessment and management of suicidal behavior (82%). On average, participants reported they had a training 1.3 years prior this training. The posttest scores of general assessment, high-risk assessment, suicide history assessment, and management of suicidal behaviors were significantly higher than the pretest scores. Results of the regression analyses showed that ten or more years of practice experience, along with high sources of mastery and general-self efficacy, significantly predicted efficacy in suicide assessment and management after controlling for demographics. The findings provide a foundation to understanding sources of self-efficacy for providers, which can assist in developing supports, policies, and procedures to ensure quality and effective assessment and intervention for those clients who experience suicide.