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A patient looking at the doctor while the doctor speaks to them
Approach

The AMSR approach to training is person-first.

Healthcare providers face many challenges when working with patients at risk of suicide. Some patients may not disclose their thoughts of suicide, and if they do, often the health care provider must make judgment calls about unpredictable outcomes, often with insufficient or contradictory information. 

AMSR’s research-informed risk formulation model helps health and behavioral health professionals feel confident navigating challenging conversations and offers key strategies for providing compassionate care to people at risk for suicide.

AMSR Risk Formulation

AMSR training provides participants with the knowledge and skills they need to address suicide risk and behaviors.

Participants will have the opportunity to increase their knowledge and apply practical skills in each of the twenty-four core competencies of effective suicide treatment.

The AMSR risk formulation groups these competencies into five teachable areas.

1. Approaching Your Work

Learn how to manage reactions related to suicide and maintain a collaborative, non-adversarial stance. Acquire the skills to address potential conflicts between a clinician’s goal to prevent suicide and maintain a client’s safety and a client’s goal to eliminate psychological pain via suicidal behavior.

2. Understanding Suicide

Gain an understanding of the definitions and language used when talking about suicide, as well as the data that are relevant to addressing suicide in treatment populations including risk and protective factors, warning signs, and precipitating factors.

3. Planning and Responding

Identify key points in treatment when a suicide assessment should occur, the type of information to gather to inform the assessment, and ways to build trust and thus elicit key information about the client’s risk of suicide. The training presents the main domains to be assessed in a comprehensive risk assessment and explores why a client my not disclose suicidal thoughts. Participants practice using assessment questions in an interactive learning environment designed to help build confidence. The training presents case studies and other interactive exercises.

4. Formulating Risk

Practice synthesizing assessment information into a risk formulation that will help inform next steps in treatment. AMSR emphasizes the importance of using a risk formulation not for prediction, but as information to make a collaborative decision regarding recovery-oriented treatment planning.

5. Gathering Information

Learn to use evidence-based suicide prevention interventions based on a formulation of the client’s suicide risk. Learn which evidence-based treatments and suicide prevention interventions to use with clients based on their level of acuity. Practice having conversations related to safety planning, contingency planning, and means counseling interventions.

AMSR Services

Training

We offer a one-day training for health care providers, and a three-hour session for other staff members who, along with the provider, provide care to patients at risk of suicide.  

AMSR for Inpatient, Outpatient, and Substance Use Disorder settings are appropriate for clinical professionals who conduct suicide risk assessments with patients, including counselors, social workers, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and nurses.

We offer a companion version, AMSR Direct Care for Inpatient and Outpatient, for other staff on the care team who need to understand the risk formulation and treatment plan but do not do the risk assessment. 

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Training of Trainers

We offer several opportunities for qualified professionals to become AMSR trainers. AMSR trainers are authorized to train other behavioral health professionals in one or more curricula based on the AMSR risk formulation model.

AMSR Trainers go on to administer valuable training within their organizations and are eligible to earn fees for leading trainings outside their organization.

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Courses

We offer versions of our AMSR curricula that have been adapted as self-paced online courses.

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