An attempt to commit suicide signifies that a person has serious mental problems or that there are some social issues that one cannot overcome without help. Unfortunately, the incidence of suicide is growing, and the problem is particularly acute among young people. According to the CDC (2017), as many as 4,600 adolescents kill themselves annually in the USA. Nearly 157,000 individuals aged between 10 and 24 receive treatment for self-inflicted injuries every year (CDC, 2017). These alarming statistics indicate that more efforts should be dedicated to suicide prevention among adolescents. The present paper analyzes a consultation model and offers a design of a suicide prevention model for a patient.
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The Description of the Case
Erika is a 17-year-old girl with a history of depression. The depression started six months ago after Erika’s brother committed suicide. The girl was very close to her brother and keeps saying that she wants to join him. Erika’s parents had her treated for a mental disorder, but upon being released from the hospital, the girl did not feel better. The situation is further aggravated by the fact that Erika has problems at school, and she feels as if no one understands her or wants to help her. Finally, the family lives in quite poor conditions, which is also considered as a risk factor (CDC, 2017). The parents are desperate to save their child’s life and are seeking help from the social services center.
The Consultation Model and the Level of Consultation (Intervention)
The model of consultation for the patient is a prescription, which involves several steps. During the first phase, the consultant should identify what is wrong with the patient. The second step is the analysis of the girl’s past and present behavior patterns and thinking of the most beneficial approaches for dealing with the problem. At this point, it is crucial to analyze the risk factors and predict the patient’s behavior based on them.
A significant element affecting the success of the consultation is the identification of the consultation (intervention) level. In this particular example, the level of consultation is the case consultation. Such sessions are aimed to refer to either the client or therapist issue. Social support is known to reduce the risk of suicide attempts (Farrell, Bolland, & Cockerham, 2015). Thus, the consultant should do everything possible and employ professional skills and knowledge to mitigate the problem.
The Client-Centered Goal
The major client-centered objective is enabling the specialist to evaluate the situation. By reaching this goal, the consultant will be able to help both the patient and her family. Another objective is to arrange the effective communication with clients and their families. By doing so, the specialist will reach cooperation with the client, and it will become possible to inculcate the understanding of life’s value to the girl. The ultimate goal of the consultation is to mitigate the client’s intention to commit suicide.
The Consultant-Centered Goal
The primary consultant-centered objective is to collaboratively identify difficulties in working with clients that have attempted suicide. The next goal is to help the consultant develop the necessary skills that will promote the effective management of the current situation. The final objective is to make sure that the specialist will be able to cope with similar cases in the future. The overall consultant-centered goal is gaining valuable experience that will develop professional skills and promote successful practice with other patients.
The Suicide Prevention Model
To come up with the best solution for Erika’s case, it is necessary to analyze the stage of prevention needed for her. Hadlaczky, Wasserman, Hoven, Mandell, and Wasserman (2016) distinguish between three types of prevention models: primary, secondary, and tertiary. The primary stage involves the discouragement of suicidal behavior before it occurs. Secondary prevention presupposes the identification of the problem at the earliest stage.
Tertiary prevention is associated with the “arresting” of the symptoms upon their clinical manifestation (Hadlaczky et al., 2016, p. 557). In Erika’s case, secondary prevention seems to be the most suitable option.
To reach the goal of the selected prevention model, it is necessary to employ evidence-based practice approaches to the problem. One of the most effective types of reducing suicidal attempts among adolescents is school-based prevention (Wasserman et al., 2015). More recent approaches involve e-therapy and online cognitive behavioral therapy options (Hatcher, 2013; Kerkhof & Weisstub, 2013). Since Erika has several risk factors and has been suffering from depression for a long time, it seems viable to suggest a combined intervention of both school-based prevention and e-therapy for her.
The project has analyzed one of the most severe mental health problems: suicide attempts. The major risk factors have been identified and discussed by the patient. The selected consultation model was a prescription, and the level was case consultation. With the help of these aspects, along with the goals, it became possible to come up with a suicide prevention model for the client. It is expected that the model will help other specialists in their work with suicidal patients and will ultimately reduce the incidence of suicide attempts among adolescents.
CDC. (2017). Suicide among youth. Web.
Farrell, C. T., Bolland, J. M., & Cockerham, W. C. (2015). The role of social support and social context on the incidence of attempted suicide among adolescents living in extremely impoverished communities. Journal of Adolescent Health, 56(1), 59-65.
Hadlaczky, G., Wasserman, D., Hoven, C. W., Mandell, D. J., & Wasserman, C. (2016). Suicide prevention strategies: Case studies from across the globe. In R. C. O’Connor & J. Pirkis (Eds.), The international handbook of suicide prevention (2nd ed.) (pp. 556-568). Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell.
Hatcher, S. (2013). E-therapies in suicide prevention: What do they look like, do they work and what is the research agenda? In B. L. Mishara & A. J. F. M. Kerkhof (Eds.), Suicide prevention and new technologies: Evidence based practice (pp. 39-49). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
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Kerkhof, A. J. F. M., & Weisstub, D. N. (2013). Reducing the burden of suicidal thoughts through online cognitive behavioural therapy self help. In B. L. Mishara & A. J. F. M. Kerkhof (Eds.), Suicide prevention and new technologies: Evidence based practice (pp. 50-62). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
Wasserman, D., Hoven, C. W., Wasserman, C., Wall, M., Eisenberg, R., Hadlaczky, G., … Carli, V. (2015). School-based suicide prevention programmes: The SEYLE cluster-randomised, controlled trial. The Lancet, 385(9977), 1536-1544.