Missouri Legal Update

2020 Lesson 8: Suicide Intervention - Part 2

Interpersonal

Release Date: 

5/1/2020

This online interpersonal perspective lesson is Part II of a two-part lesson addressing suicide prevention. Section one plays an actual 9-1-1 call during which a dispatcher successfully talks a suicidal person down from a tower. It provides an opportunity for officers to witness the five stages of suicide intervention in an actual case.


Section two provides an analysis of the dispatcher’s handling of the five stages of suicide intervention. It points out how the dispatcher made extensive use of the following active listening techniques to build rapport with the caller: I/we care statements; minimal encouragers; open-ended questions; and identifying/satisfying a need. It also examines statements made that could have weakened rapport.


Section two further examines how the dispatcher completed the last two stages of suicide intervention: maintaining control and developing/implementing a plan. It explains how the dispatcher provided hope to the caller and made “contracts” to maintain control over the crisis. The lesson demonstrates how the dispatcher successfully developed and implemented a plan to resolve the crisis through: repeatedly emphasizing the goal; fueling the person’s hope; keeping everyone “on the same page”; briefing the person on reality; addressing the person’s concerns; and making it personal.


Section three provides guidance on helping survivors of suicide loss. It explains how losing a person to suicide differs from losing a person to other violent methods of death. It addresses how choosing words carefully can help reduce the stigma suicide survivors may feel.  It provides concrete examples of how officers can help suicide survivors.



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