Sharon D. Novalis, PhD, OTR/L
Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy
Earn .1 AOTA CEU (1.25 NBCOT PDU/1 contact hour)
Suicide is a public health crisis. In 2015, within the United States, 44,193 individuals completed suicide, and an additional 1.4 million individuals attempted suicide (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017a).
Although much remains unknown about the underlying cause of suicidal ideation, behaviors, attempts, and completions, research has indicated contributory (not causal) risk factors and associated warning signs. Because of the multiple complexities associated with treating those at risk (including those who have lost someone to suicide), a holistic approach that recognizes the complexities of the individual, such as the approach of occupational therapy, is crucial.
Occupational therapy practitioners from all practice settings need to be aware of the risk factors and warning signs to respond appropriately. Moreover, occupational therapists can enhance their evaluation and treatment approaches by applying models of practice and frames of reference, activity analysis, and through examining the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2014).
1. Identify known risk factors associated with suicide
2. Describe appropriate steps to take in addressing suicidal behaviors
3. Differentiate grief experienced by suicide survivors from other types of grief
4. Identify appropriate clinical considerations and resources to enhance the occupational therapy approach when working with individuals at risk for suicide (including suicide survivors)
Learning Level: Intermediate
Target Audience: Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants
Content Focus: Professional Issues and Process of OT
Novalis, Sharon D., PhD, OTR/L.; (2017) Suicide Awareness and Occupational Therapy for Suicide Survivors, OT Practice, 22(21). CE-1–CE-8