Risky Business: Assessing Suicide Risk and Imminent Danger

Undertaking a suicide risk assessment is not without its complexities. One size does not fit all. This advanced level workshop provides the opportunity for participants to depth their knowledge and competency in the “art” of assessment and management of suicide through empathetic dialogue rather than a more traditional assessment interview process.  Participants will explore how factors such as nuance, context, culture, gender, socio-economic background, the quality and length of the therapeutic relationship impact on the process and the outcomes of an assessment.


Recent coroners’ findings highlighted the importance of practitioners, especially counsellors in private practice, regularly updating their knowledge and competency in suicide risk assessment


The workshop provides detailed critical analysis of the rationale and research that informs the questions in a standard assessment process. This assists participants to more able to confidently and competently adapt the content and process of the assessment to best meet the context and the needs of the client, particularly in crisis situations.  It also facilitates greater depth of enquiry and does not constrain the practitioner to questions on the assessment sheet.


Evaluation of this training indicated that the content of this course is both relevant and applicable to the work of mental health clinicians; primary health clinicians; mental health support workers; counsellors and therapists in private practice; school counsellors; frontline health, social service and community workers.


Topics covered:

  • Overview of the phenomenon of suicide and the 'suicidal moment'

  • What is meant by suicide risk? - Predisposing, Precipitating and Perpetuating Risk Factors

  • The art of suicide risk assessment: The critical role of the human interaction and empathetic listening

  • A holistic approach to assessment - taking into account physical, emotional, cultural, socio-economic, and spiritual factors or influencers

  • Contextualising the suicidal thought or act

  • Asking the question to get the answer: Integrating assessment questions into a counselling/support context

  • Discussing suicide with a client and making sense of the suicidal narrative

  • Imminent danger? moving beyond assessing risk to assessing protective factors

  • Coping vs Safety Planning



Custodians of Hope: Supporting the suicidal person in non-mental health service settings

The primary aim of supporting the suicidal person is to engender a sense of hope and inviting the person to live


Identifying suicide risk is only one part of working with the suicidal person. The increasing demand on mental health services means that front line workers are often having to provide ongoing support for those assessed as not being in imminent danger of suicide. A recent Coroner's finding has highlighted the need for counsellors in private practice, NGO mental health support organisations and front-line health and social services to be up to date in their competency and capability to engage with the suicidal client and to have good referral processes in place.


Workshop participants will explore a model of engagement, support and safe containment post risk assessment. The five steps of the model are:

  • Illumination

  • Restoring of Wairua

  • Custodian of Hope

  • Interrupting the suicidal thought

  • Strategies for coping


This course would be particularly of value for those working in counselling or social support settings who have a basic understanding of counselling and/or mental health support/ recovery principles and processes. While the workshop is focused primarily around non-mental health settings, the workshop content is also relevant to workers in mental health settings.


For counsellors in private practice this workshop addresses the concerns expressed and the recommendations made in the recent Coroner's report that urged counsellors in private practice to ensure they have clear assessment and referral pathways when working with suicidal clients.


Topics covered:

  • Overview of suicide and suicidal ideation

  • The Suicidal Moment

  • Models of crisis intervention for those who are suicidal

  • Coping Planning vs Safety Panning

  • Safe Practice: Keeping the suicidal person safe physically, emotionally and culturally

  • Confidentiality, Referral pathways, Privacy Act, Joint case management, inter-agency

  • Duty of Care

  • Post suicide crisis follow-up and management

  • Supervision and Debriefing

  • Therapeutic interventions – short and long term

  • Including family and significant others as part of the support team


Risky Business: The art of assessing suicide risk and imminent danger workshop offer.

While not a requirement, participants would benefit from also attending the Risky Business: The art of assessing suicide risk and imminent danger workshop as it provides a foundation for the learnings from this workshop. Register for both workshops and receive a 20% discount.

Grey Not Blue: Introduction to depression and suicide in the older person


Suicide in those over 65 is more common than is generally thought.  Often under reported, depression and suicide is a major mental health issue for this age group.  Health professionals, support workers, pastoral care workers & clergy are often best placed to identify those at risk and to provide support and interventions.  The identification and treatment of depression is an essential aspect of this work. 


Topics covered in the workshop:

  • Grey not blue - Overview of depression and life stressors in older person and the risk for suicide

  • Social and economic determinants of suicide in older people

  • Suicidal behaviour vs Assisted Dying

  • Assessing risk of suicide in older person

  • Support strategies for older people who are suicidal


This workshop is designed for those who work with older people in community or residential settings


Delivered on Request

This workshop is delivered on request.  Please contact Barry Taylor to discuss the possibility of having the workshop delivered in your organisation or community. The workshop can be adapted to develop a tailor-made training programme to meet your community’s or organisation’s specific needs. The workshop can be delivered at weekends.

Thriving Not Dying:  Understanding suicide in young people and what we can do about it

The suicide of a young person has a devastating impact on all those connected. Despite numerous initiatives, we have seen in recent years an upward trend in the rates of suicide in young people, particularly for Maori and young men.


There is much media coverage and community concern about youth suicide with demands that more is done to prevent such deaths.  In the past twenty years we have seen a multitude of prevention and interventions strategies that have either been advocated for or implemented. Many without rigorous evidence or evaluation. While there is no argument about the need to address the unacceptably hight rates of youth suicide, the challenge is to identify the most effective strategies to implement.


Due to the complexity of the inter-relating factors that influence suicidal behaviour in young people the prevention of such deaths is challenging. It is critical that our prevention strategies are evidence-based and address the underlying factors.

Suicide in young people is prevented by well and hope-filled rangatahi living and participating in caring and safe whānau and communities, supported by manaakitanga and whānau ora and wellbeing and evidence based interventions.


This workshop will provide an overview of these factors and what has been shown to be effective prevention and intervention strategies. Based on thirty years of working with suicidal young people, Barry will offer a critique of current suicide prevention initiatives, providing insights into:

  • The phenomenon of suicide in young people – What is it and how is it explained

  • Gender and cultural trends in youth suicide

  • The inculturation of suicidal thinking and behaviour in youth culture

  • To talk or not to talk about suicide debate- an overview of the different perspectives and the pro and cons of each perspective

  • Current and future trends of suicide in young people - the increase of suicide in young women, Pacific Island and why young Maori suicide remains consistently and disproportionately high

  • The changing dynamics of suicidality in young people - making sense of their suicide narrative

  • The correlation between mood disorders and suicide

  • The rise of trauma related suicide

  • Suicide contagion & inter-generational suicide


Delivered on Request

This workshop is delivered on request.  Please contact Barry Taylor to discuss the possibility of having the workshop delivered in your organisation or community. The workshop can be adapted to develop a tailor-made training programme to meet your community’s or organisation’s specific needs. The workshop can be delivered at weekends.

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Me mahi tahi tautou mo te oranga o te katoa   -  Work together for the wellbeing of everyone


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