Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk (AMSR) teaches best practices recommended by the nation's leading experts in the research and delivery of suicide care.
"I have been working with substance use disorders for more than 19 years and this is the first training I've seen specific to substance use and suicide risk. I believe getting individuals working in the substance use field trained in AMSR-SUD will save lives.”
The AMSR for Substance Use Disorder Treatment Professionals (AMSR-SUD) curriculum develops skills in the recognition, assessment, and management of suicide risk and the delivery of effective suicide-specific interventions.
Substance Use Disorder and Suicide
Suicide and drug overdose deaths in the United States, regardless of age or race, have increased since 2001 and the rate of drug overdose death surpassed that of suicide in 2015.1 There are shared risk factors for suicide and substance abuse, including depression, trauma history, hopelessness, and impulsivity (SAMHSA, 2015). Research indicates that individuals who struggle with substance abuse disorders can also be at increased risk for suicide. For example, in one study, adults who abused opioids at least weekly were more likely to engage in suicide planning and attempts.2 Since individuals who struggle with substance use disorders and substance misuse are at higher risk for suicide, professionals who provide substance use disorder treatment need the necessary knowledge and skills needed to talk with clients about suicide.
The AMSR-SUD curriculum follows national guidelines for evidence-based practices including:
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 50: Addressing Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors in Substance Abuse Treatment
- National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Suicide Prevention and the Clinical Workforce: Guidelines for Training
The training aims to provide participants with the background knowledge and practical skills that they need to address suicidal risk and behaviors in clients in care for substance use disorder treatment. Participants will have the opportunity to increase their knowledge and apply practical skills in the following areas:
Approaching Your Work: Learn how to manage reactions related to suicide and maintain a collaborative, non-adversarial stance. Acquire the necessary skills to address potential conflicts between a care professional’s goal to prevent suicide and relapse and a client’s goal to eliminate psychological pain via suicidal behavior.
Understanding Suicide: Gain an understanding of the definitions and language used when talking about suicide, as well as the data that are relevant to addressing suicide in substance use disorder treatment including risk and protective factors, warning signs, and the complicating factors of substance misuse, including opioids.
Gathering Information: Identify key points in treatment where a suicide assessment should occur, what questions to ask to learn more about a client’s suicidal thoughts and behaviors past and present, and how to ask them. Participants will practice asking questions in an interactive learning environment designed to help build confidence. The training presents key scenarios, such as when to seek supervision or consultation and what to do when someone discloses suicidal thoughts during a group treatment session.
Formulating Risk: Practice synthesizing assessment information into a risk formulation that will help inform next steps in treatment. AMSR emphasizes the importance of using a risk formulation not for prediction but as information to make a collaborative decision regarding recovery-oriented treatment planning.
Planning and Responding: Review suggested actions to take based on a risk formulation using resources from SAMHSA’s TIP 50 and evidence-based interventions. Practice having conversations related to safety planning and addressing the potential for relapse through means counseling interventions.
This course has been approved by the Zero Suicide Institute at EDC, as a NAADAC-Approved Education Provider, for 6.5 CEs. NAADAC Provider #189015 is responsible for all aspects of its programming. AMSR-SUD addresses the Counselor Skill Groups of Clinical Assessment, Treatment Plan, and Documentation.
The Zero Suicide Institute at EDC does not provide refunds in the case of non-attendance.
- 1. WISQARS (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System) Injury Center (2018). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html.
- 2. Ashrafioun L, Bishop TM, Conner KR, Pigeon WR. (2017) Frequency of prescription opioid misuse and suicidal ideation, planning, and attempts. Journal of Psychiatry Research Sep;92:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2017.03.011. Epub 2017 Mar 19.
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