Course Title: Assess and respond to individuals at risk of suicide

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2015

Course Code: HWSS5972C

Course Title: Assess and respond to individuals at risk of suicide

School: 365T Global, Urban & Social Studies

Campus: City Campus

Program: C4328 - Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs

Course Contact : Mandy Morrison

Course Contact Phone: +(61 3) 9925 4065

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Chris Walters

9925 8268

Nominal Hours: 110

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

Not applicable

Course Description

This course will provide you with the skills and knowledge to assess and respond appropriately to people at risk of suicide. As part of the course you will undertake the mental health first aid and suicide intervention and prevention training program.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CHCCS521B Assess and respond to individuals at risk of suicide


1. Identify and assess the person's current suicide risk

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Recognise and respond to signs, (such as statements, reactions, thoughts, feelings or behaviours) indicating that a person may be considering suicide

1.2 Attend to any hunches, while listening as a helper, perhaps from indirect communications, that suggest the client may be considering suicide

1.3 Ask directly about thoughts of suicide whenever there are grounds for concern

If suicide thoughts are present:

1.4 Seek sufficient understanding of why the person is considering suicide, and what links them to life, to inform and facilitate the intervention

1.5 Assess current suicide risk guided by risk assessment considerations outlined in the Range Statement and by whether there is an imminent threat to the person's safety or the safety of others

1.6 Follow steps outlined in elements 2, 3 and 4.

If the person indicates she/he is not thinking of suicide and no suicidal intent, plans, or behaviour are evident:

1.7 Work collaboratively with the person to provide support and facilitate access to further care as needed - guided by elements 3 and 4

1.8 Remain vigilant about any emerging indications of suicidality, prompting careful risk assessment and safe management as outlined in elements 1 and 2


2. Work actively with the person to reduce the immediate risk of suicide and increase safety

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Build a collaborative empathic relationship with person at risk that acknowledges how thoughts of suicide and the pain behind them may affect their safety

2.2 Listen to what lies behind any thoughts of suicide while affirming and strengthening links to safety and living implicit in the helping relationship

2.3 Work with person at risk to develop and follow through on a safety plan that reduces immediate danger of self-harm, risk of suicidal behaviour and/or suicide and mobilises access to emergency medical help when needed

2.4 Manage intervention in ways that address and reduce any risk of harm to caregivers and others potentially at risk in the situation and remain mindful of circumstances where the police may need to be involved to address safety

2.5 Seek and act on advice from workplace supervisor to ensure action taken is lawful, complies with good suicide intervention practice and organisation policies consistent with that practice, ethical processes and duty of care obligations

2.6 Address work health and safety (WHS) obligations in relation to managing self and others

2.7 Refer to health professionals where appropriate


3. Facilitate and strengthen the individual's links to further care

Performance Criteria:

Having worked with the person to take any steps needed to address immediate safety:
3.1 Encourage and enable capacity of person at risk and/or in crisis to make informed choices about further help that deals with their suicidality and associated needs for ongoing care
3.2 Acknowledge how the current helping relationship has provided foundations for further care
3.3 Explore and seek to understand and address any barriers to seeking or accepting help
3.4 Develop, with the individual, a plan and agreed first steps, to access and utilise informal supports and professional help


4. Provide further intervention support to resource the individual beyond immediate crisis

Performance Criteria:

When or if it is assessed that there is no imminent risk that needs to be immediately addressed:
4.1 Maintain open rapport with individual to encourage discussion of on-going concerns related to their situation generally and any suicide risk - focusing on what most needs attention now
4.2 Affirm person's decision to seek and accept help to keep safe and address their concerns
4.3 Review how and with whom they might seek help in future to keep safe and/or get support
4.4 Support individual to develop coping strategies (both internal and external) which prepare them to safely manage any recurrence of suicidal thoughts
4.5 Identify mental health concerns or personal circumstances (such as depression, trauma, substance misuse or significant losses) that need addressing and facilitate access to appropriate help
4.6 Ensure supports and coping strategies developed are documented and communicated as necessary to other members of work team
4.7 Comply with all laws, relevant ethical guidelines and policy requirements that affect duty of care

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will have developed and applied the skills and knowledge required to demonstrate your competency in the above elements.

Details of Learning Activities

Students will engage in the following learning activities:

  • Students will be learning to identify and respond effectively to clients who present with suicidal ideation.
  • Providing family sensitive practice
  • Effect referral processes with other services
  • Managing crisis interventions

Teaching Schedule

The teaching schedule for this course is as follows:

This course will be offered from August -October 2015

1.Recognise and respond to signs of suicidal ideation
Sensitive questioning
Understanding why people consider suicide
Statistics and high risk groups
2.Risk assessment
Crisis Intervention
Safety plans
3.Reducing risks to others
Workplace policies and procedures
Work Health and Safety
4.Informal supports and professional help
Specialist services for the Individual and their caregivers
Assisting the Individual develop coping mechanisms
5.Identifying mental health concerns and other contributing factors to suicide
Worker self-care
Critical Incident debriefing
Legal issues and duty of care
6.Putting intervention strategies into action
Role plays

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems and access to specialised facilities and relevant software.
The University Library provides extensive services, facilities and study space as well as comprehensive collections of books, periodicals and other course related materials, such as DVD’s, magazines, slides, films etc. Computer laboratories with access to a wide range of desktop publishing software are also available. The library also has an expanding virtual collection of electronic resources and networks, including product data, e-books, electronic journals and newspapers, web based tutorials, online reference and document delivery services etc., all of which are accessible on campus, and off campus 24 hours per day. More information on library resources and services can be found at:
If you need additional support, visit RMIT’s Learning Lab, either in person or online:

Overview of Assessment

You will be required to demonstrate your ability to perform a suicide assessment and intervention in-class via a role play.

Assessment Tasks

Student will engage in the following assessment tasks:

  • Develop and assess and response plan for a case study client
  • Role play an intervention of clinician and client in respect to suicide interventions

Assessment Matrix

An assessment matrix demonstrating alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant course is available from the course contact person (stated above). 

This program is delivered in accordance with competency-based assessment, grades include:

CA: Competency Achieved
NYC: Not Yet Competent
DNS: Did Not Submit for assessment


Other Information

Assessment Tasks Submission Cover Sheet
You must complete a submission cover sheet for every piece of submitted work, including online submissions. This signed sheet acknowledges that you are aware of the plagiarism implications.

It is strongly advised that you attend all workshops in order to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring the maximum opportunity to gain the competency.

You will receive verbal and written feedback by teacher on your work. This feedback also includes suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your competency. Information regarding student feedback can be found at:;ID=9pp3ic9obks7

Student Progress
Monitoring academic progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy to assist you to achieve your learning potential. The Student progress policy can be found at:;ID=vj2g89cve4uj1

Special consideration Policy (Late Submission)
All assessment tasks are required to be completed to a satisfactory level. If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment by the due date, you will need to apply for an extension. Information regarding application for special consideration can be found at:;ID=g43abm17hc9w

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism
RMIT University has a strict policy on plagiarism and academic integrity. For more information on this policy go to Academic Integrity Web site:;ID=kw02ylsd8z3n  


Course Overview: Access Course Overview