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

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2015

Course Code: HWSS6008C

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

School: 365T Global, Urban & Social Studies

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6124 - Advanced Diploma of Justice

Course Contact : Irene Pagliarella, Program Manager

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4581

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Melissa Brown

Nominal Hours: 80

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

Successful completion of, or demonstrated equivalence to, the following units of competency:

VU20868 Apply foundation legal principles
VU20869 Work within the criminal justice system
VU20870 Apply writing and presentation skills within a justice environment
VU20871 Support the management of adult offenders within the Victorian correctional framework
PSPOHS401B Implement workplace safety procedures and programs
PSPETHC401A Uphold and support the values and principles of public service

And ONE of the following electives:

CHCAOD402B Work effectively in the alcohol and other drugs sector
LGACOM406A Investigate alleged breaches of legislation and prepare documentation

Course Description

In this course you will develop the skills and knowledge required to provide sensitive and effective intervention where risk of self-harm or suicide has been identified.
The focus is on identifying and managing immediate suicide risk in the context of a supportive helping relationship that seeks to work collaboratively with the person at risk to achieve safe outcomes.
Safe outcomes in this context include a clear safety plan for addressing any immediate danger to the person at risk or others, mobilising access to emergency medical help when needed and facilitating links with further care. This course relates to managing imminent risk in ways which provide opportunity for more comprehensive assessment and the provision of further help.

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:

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

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

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

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

1.5Assess 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

1.6Follow 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:
1.7Work collaboratively with the person to provide support and facilitate access to further care as needed - guided by elements 3 and 4

1.8Remain 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:

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

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

2.3Work 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

2.4Manage 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

2.5Seek 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

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

2.7Refer to health professionals where appropriate


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:

4.1Maintain 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

4.2Affirm person's decision to seek and accept help to keep safe and address their concerns

4.3Review how and with whom they might seek help in future to keep safe and/or get support

4.4Support individual to develop coping strategies (both internal and external) which prepare them to safely manage any recurrence of suicidal thoughts

4.5Identify mental health concerns or personal circumstances (such as depression, trauma, substance misuse or significant losses) that need addressing and facilitate access to appropriate help

4.6Ensure supports and coping strategies developed are documented and communicated as necessary to other members of work team

4.7Comply with all laws, relevant ethical guidelines and policy requirements that affect duty of care


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:

3.1Encourage 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

3.2Acknowledge how the current helping relationship has provided foundations for further care

3.3Explore and seek to understand and address any barriers to seeking or accepting help

3.4Develop, with the individual, a plan and agreed first steps, to access and utilise informal supports and professional help

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course, you will be able to:

- Provide evidence of specified essential knowledge and skills in:
•Identify common indicators or signs of potential suicide risk, including risk of any type of self-harm
• Demonstrate competent skills in communication, counselling and the principles of crisis intervention, including relevant laws, ethical guidelines and policy requirements that support good care and duty of care
•Practice suicide intervention including risk assessment, the development of safety plans and facilitate on-going support via assistance and informed referrals to other agencies
• Facilitate emergency interventions
• Demonstrate awareness of personal values, beliefs and attitudes which may facilitate or impede crisis care and suicide intervention
•Examine common notions about suicide and sound suicide intervention practice in the light of available evidence
• Demonstrate awareness of how other mental health issues may impact upon intervention
•Commit to attend to the pain of the person at risk and work towards safe, life sustaining outcomes
•Practice the principles of self-monitoring, self care and support-seeking relevant to involvement in crisis and suicide intervention work


Details of Learning Activities

You will participate in a variety of learning activities (in class and out of class). These may include the following;

  • class exercises to review discussions/lectures
  • practical demonstrations
  • analysis/critique of relevant reading material
  • group projects
  • peer learning
  • guest lecture/presentation
  • peer teaching and class presentations
  • group discussion
  • research
  • independent project based work
  • group activities/projects
  • ‘workshopping’ of student projects including peer/lecturer feedback
  • field visits

Teaching Schedule

Week 1-
-Terminology on suicide
-Different scenarios: crisis, person in need, spontaneous, long term planning
-Myths about suicide
-Attitudes & values when working with clients who are suicidal/self-harming
-Sense of safety

Week 2-
-Review of last week’s class topics
-Egan Three stage model
-Review of Counselling Skills

Week 3-
-Discussion on suicide in cultures
-Discussion on suicide in justice (deaths in custody)
-Police training to handle suicide
-Suicide presentation in media
-Cultural Suicide rates

Week 4-
-Discussion on indicators, risk, factors, crisis communication

•Working with ambivalence
•Crisis communication & strategies
•Risk factors

Week 5-
-Discussion on cues and behaviours
•Personal factors and life events that have been linked to suicide
•Hints, clues, triggers
•Mental health evaluation

-“Suicide” Assessment with clients at risk
-Protective Factors
-Responding models- SALT, direct questioning

Week 6-
-Discussion on minimizing risk of harm
-Action plans versus Safety plans- what’s the difference and when to use them
-First Aid for Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviours-ASIST
-Risk assessment of suicide

Week 7-
-Upcoming Assessments

Week 8-
Monday, 7th Sept. - excursion to Bundoora Campus with Prosecution students

Wednesday, 9th Sept. - class
-Discussion on legal, ethical and organizational frameworks
•Duty of care
•Identifying critical incident

-Referring clients and the referral process

Friday, 11th Sept. - Attendance @ R U Ok Day on campus

Week 9 - 10
**Students are to prepare for their group presentations. Presentations will be conducted at CSI Camp.

Week 11-

Week 12-
-Discussion on working with children and young people at risk
-Understanding trauma

Week 13-
-Discussion on euthanasia

Week 14-
-Discussion on managing stress, self-care, when a client suicides
-Review for exam

Week 15-
Written Exam

NOTE: While your teacher will cover all the material in this schedule, the order is subject to change depending on class needs and availability of speakers and resources.

It is strongly advised that you attend all sessions in order to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring the maximum opportunity to gain the competency.
We expect that students engage in learning through a combination of lectures, individual reading and study, meaningful feedback on written work and structured activities that encourage critical thinking and the development of discipline specific knowledge and practical skills.
Students are active participants and this course prioritises learning by doing. It is essential that students take ownership of their studies and work on developing skills as independent learners in time allocated away from lectures and class time.
As a student you need to demonstrate both knowledge and practical skills relevant to the course content within the classroom environment. Engagement with educators and other students is critical to you maximising learning opportunities and achieving satisfactory results. Participation in classroom discussion and activities will allow educators to apply observational assessment during role-plays, exercises and assignments and provide you with feedback.
You will be required to sign an attendance sheet and if you are absent from class, it is your responsibility to advise your educator and complete any written tasks that may have been allocated.
Students are required to carefully plan and use their time productively and submit assessments as required. All assessments tasks should be researched and drafted well in advance of the set submission dates.
The course will use blended learning techniques, including; lectures, discussions, activities in class and learner directed activities supported by a range of resources available in class and on Blackboard system


You will receive verbal and written feedback on your work. This feedback also includes suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects. Student feedback at RMIT :;ID=9pp3ic9obks7

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

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts



There is no prescribed text for this course.
All required readings and case studies will be available either:
Via My RMIT/Studies Blackboard
Handed out in class as a hard copy
Accessible by CD/DVD
Via the internet/assigned website
Accessible via the RMIT Library

Other Resources

PowerPoint’s for the lectures will generally be made available AFTER the class; however these are not a replacement for attending lectures. Lectures may have additional information, activities or visual material, which will not be available through Blackboard.

It is essential that you access the Blackboard site at least once a week, as announcements and emails are considered an effective means of communication between educators and students.

GUSS Skills Central ( is a site developed specifically for students in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT. It provides links to a range of resources for supporting student work on assessments and negotiating university studies more generally.

Overview of Assessment

Assessments may incorporate a variety of methods including role plays, observations, lectures, tutorials, class discussion, reports, group/individual training workshops, and audio-visual presentations.

Assessment Tasks

•Participation in R U Ok Day activities (Formative assessment 1).
•Role-play of case scenario at CSI Camp (Formative Assessment 2). This role play contributes to the written report for Summative Assessment 1.

** In class discussions, role plays, debates and quizzes are also considered part of your formative assessing, and as such, are necessary for you to participate in to maintain the continuity of your learning.

• Written report on a simulated case scenario/ role play (Summative assessment 1 (graded) will constitute total 50% of the final grade).
This assessment task identifies with the required skills necessary to assess a person’s suicide risk and act on upon the appropriate steps to prevent and refer relevant to the situation.
• Group presentation on suicide topics from readings, given in Week 8. Groups will be formed, readings will be posted on Blackboard, and a presentation criteria will be given to you in week 7. Group presentations will be conducted at the CSI Camp. (Summative assessment 2 (graded) will constitute total 15% of the final grade).
• Written exam (Summative assessment 3 (graded) will constitute 35% of the final grade). This assessment comprises written questioning on the legislative frameworks and ethical guidelines related to working with persons at risk of suicide and self-harm. As well, the exam will consist of case scenarios, and students will be required to write a safety plan relevant to the case scenarios.

Students must achieve competency IN ALL assessment tasks to PASS this subject.

Assessment Matrix

This is available via MyRMIT/Studies.
The assessments have been designed to cover all Learning Outcomes and will be graded in accordance with RMIT’s Mark Table which is as follows:

CHD Competent with High Distinction
CDI Competent with Distinction
CC Competent with Credit
CAG Competency Achieved - Graded
NYC Not Yet Competent
DNS Did not Submit for Assessment
Grades which apply to course delivered in accordance with competency-based assessment (not-graded)

CA Competency Achieved
NYC Not Yet Competent
DNS Did Not Submit For Assessment
Assessment Deadlines
Any due date for any assignment is to be considered a deadline. You can submit work at any time prior to the submission date, but it must be into the Administration office by close of business (5pm) of the day the submission is due.

Assessment Format

As a student of the Justice VE program, it is expected that you adhere to the following criteria regarding essays/research/reports;

1. For an ADVANCED DIPLOMA written assessment task/s – no less than 2500 words, 5 academic references and ONE in-text citation per paragraph.
2. A paragraph is usually between 200 – 250 words.
3. A sentence is usually between 20 - 25 words.
4. American Psychological Association (APA) Referencing Style is the EXPECTED referencing style for Criminal Justice (VE).
5. We highly recommend that all students download a copy of the APA Referencing Guide which is available on the Blackboard or purchase a Pocket Guide to APA style from the campus bookshop.
6. APA Referencing system is to be used and all in-text citations must be recorded according to APA standards.
7. An academic reference is a scholarly source (journal articles that are peer reviewed, a published book, an approved government or organisation website etc).
8. Written reports, research projects or essays are to demonstrate an understanding of the concepts and familiarity with the prescribed or negotiated topics
9. It is expected that all submitted work will be well written, with clear and consistent grammar, expression and punctuation. It must be well structured and address the issues raised in the chosen topic in a logical ordered and organised manner.
10. Written submissions must demonstrate appropriate preparation, reading and research.
11. Double or 1.5 spacing and a font size of 10-12 must be used in either Arial or Times Roman. Do not submit double paged assessments.
12. All assignments to be submitted via the Drop Box (Building 37, level 2) and submitted via email to the Advanced Diploma email address to verify submission ( Assessments must be submitted by 5pm (close of business).
13. Alternatively, your assessments can be uploaded into the assignment section of Blackboard as outlined in the assessment guideline provided to you by your Educator.
14. Written assessments will also be submitted with a Turnitin Report attached (as instructed by your Educator).

Other Information

Please refer to the RMIT student page for extensive information about study support, assessment, extensions, appeals and a range of other matters:


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. Special consideration, appeals and discipline :
In accordance with RMIT policy, you may apply for an extension where there have been unexpected or extenuating circumstances, e.g.

• Hospital admission, serious injury, severe asthma, severe anxiety or depression. This does not include minor illness such as a cold, period pain or hay fever.
• Loss or bereavement – e.g. death of a close family member, family/relationship breakdown.
• Hardship/trauma – e.g. victim of crime, sudden loss of income or employment, severe disruption to domestic arrangements.

You must keep a copy of their assessment until the graded submission has been returned or marks have been posted.

All email communications will be sent to your RMIT student email address.
An extension of up to seven calendar days may be granted if good reason can be demonstrated. Include supporting evidence (such as medical certificates) with your application.


Extensions beyond seven calendar days cannot be granted by Course coordinators or individual educators.

Coordinator/Program Manager is not satisfied that the student took reasonable measures to avoid the circumstances that contributed to the student being unable to submit the progressive assessment.

Longer extensions

Extensions of time longer than 7 days can only be granted through special consideration
Applying for Special Consideration
If you are seeking an extension of more than seven calendar days (from the original due date) you must lodge an Application for Special Consideration form, preferably prior to, but no later than two working days after the official due date. Late applications will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances.
For information about Special Consideration and how to apply, see:


Assignment Submissions:


The submission of assessments on the due date is the responsibility solely of the student. Students should not leave assignment preparation until the last minute and must plan their workloads so as to be able to meet advertised or notified deadlines. 



The penalty for assignments submitted late will be 5% of the maximum mark per day late or part thereof.


Weekends and holidays will attract the same penalty as weekdays.


Assignments that are late by 7 days or more will not be marked and will be awarded zero.
Cover Sheet for Submissions
Hardcopy: you must complete a submission cover sheet for every piece of work submitted in hardcopy.
E-Submission: you will complete an e-Declaration for every piece of work submitted online.
The signed cover sheet or e-Declaration acknowledges that you are aware of the plagiarism implications.

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

Applying for Special Consideration
If you are seeking an extension of more than seven calendar days (from the original due date) you must lodge an Application for Special Consideration form, preferably prior to, but no later than two working days after the official due date. Late applications will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances. For information about Special Consideration and how to apply, see:

Assessment Appeals
If you believe your assessment result or final result is wrong please contact the course coordinator and provide the reason why you think your result is incorrect. Valid reasons for seeking a review of results include:
a) You believe an error has occurred in the calculation of the grade; or,
b) You believe the assessment did not comply with criteria published in the Course Guide; or,
c) You believe the assessment did not comply with University Policies on Assessment (i.e. an error in process has occurred).
Full details of the procedure (including appeals procedure) can be located at this RMIT site:

Academic Integrity
Academic integrity means honesty and responsibility in scholarship through respecting the work of others whilst having the freedom to build new insights, new knowledge and ideas. RMIT University upholds the values of academic integrity as fundamental to the scholarship undertaken by all members of its community. Whenever you refer to another person’s research or ideas (either by directly quoting or paraphrasing them) you must acknowledge your source.
If you are even in doubt about how to properly cite a reference, consult your lecturer or the academic integrity website:
The RMIT library provides tools to assist with your referencing

Plagiarism and Collusion
Plagiarism and collusion constitute extremely serious academic misconduct, and are forms of cheating. You are reminded that cheating, whether by fabrication, falsification of data, or plagiarism, is an offence subject to University disciplinary procedures. Plagiarism is the presentation of the work, idea or creation of another person as though it is your own. It is a form of cheating and is a very serious academic offence that may lead to expulsion from the University. Plagiarised material can be drawn from, and presented in, written, graphic and visual form, including electronic data, and oral presentations. Plagiarism occurs when the origin of the material used is not appropriately cited. Plagiarism is not acceptable.
Examples of plagiarism include:
• Copying sentences or paragraphs word-for-word from one or more sources, whether published or unpublished, which could include but is not limited to books, journals, reports, theses, websites, conference papers, course notes, etc. without proper citation;
• Closely paraphrasing sentences, paragraphs, ideas or themes without proper citation;
• Piecing together text from one or more sources and adding only linking sentences;
• Copying or submitting whole or parts of computer files without acknowledging their source;
• Copying designs or works of art and submitting them as your original work;
• Copying a whole or any part of another student’s work; and
• Submitting work as your own that someone else has done for you.
• Enabling Plagiarism: the act of assisting or allowing another person to plagiarise or to copy your own work is also an offence.
For further information, please see the RMIT Plagiarism Policy –;ID=sg4yfqzod48g1 – and the RMIT Student Conduct Regulations –;ID=r7a7an6qug93

Plagiarism Software
The originality verification software Turnitin may be used in this course. For details, see:

Complaints Procedure:
RMIT University is committed to providing a harmonious study and work environment for all students and staff. The University recognises your right to raise concerns about academic, administrative or support services without recrimination and has policies and procedures to assist in the resolution of complaints.
Most issues are resolved at the local level and you are encouraged to take steps to resolve your issue locally. The student complaint procedure details steps to take if your problem is not resolved or you believe the response you received is unreasonable.
Student Complaints Policy:
Student complaints Procedure:;ID=i1lexipvjt22
Student Complaints Form:

Course Overview: Access Course Overview