Barriers to effective assessment activity

In this activity we invite you to consider all the potential barriers to an effective suicide risk assessment. These are barriers to your provision of sound professional practice and may introduce ethical and legal points of liability.

Following this activity, draft your thoughts about those barriers that may be directly relevant to your own practice, or alternatively, identify how you actively work to address potential barriers to effective suicide risk assessment. 

Inaccurate perceptions – e.g. “They are too young to think like that”, “They wouldn't know how to end their life”
Time – “I don't have the time, so I won't bother”
Fear of asking the right question, so avoid asking any question
Lack of confidence in being able to support a person that discloses suicidality
Other critical matters seem to take priority eg. We need to work with the AOD first or if we deal with the family conflict, all the other issues will go away
Wrong setting/environment – e.g. the context is too difficult (open/non-confidential setting, by telephone, five minutes before home time, the client sent a text message after hours)
Refusal of client to provide information/engage or it is a mandated rather than voluntary process where they know assessment outcomes may affect them
Lack of referral resources to provide a client, so it seems 'pointless'
Heavy or excessive workload
Inaccurate referral information provided or assumed risk factors not evident in referral eg. “seeing me for parenting counselling, not depression”
Loss of a client (or someone you care about) to suicide in the past and feeling “I can't go there with someone again, so I won't even start”