Suicide Prevention: Critical Elements for Managing Suicidal Clients and Counselor Liability

LII Faculty Authors: Dr. Mary L. Bartlett

Despite its entrenchment as a standard of practice, no-suicide contracts fail to achieve their purpose as an effective part of treatment or as an effective method of inoculating counselors against potential lawsuits should a client commit suicide. Critical elements for managing suicidal clients and counselor liability without reliance on the no-suicide contract are presented. Therapeutic considerations include evaluating clients to determine (a) no referral for hospitalization needed, (b) referral for voluntary hospitalization, or (c) referral for involuntary hospitalization.