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Helping People Living with Suicidal Intensity: Risk Formulation, Support and Healing with Confidence and Compassion

Presented by Sally Spencer-Thomas PsyD, MNM

Presenter Bio

Keynote Speaker & Impact Entrepreneur -Co-Founder & President, United Suicide Survivors International

“Dr. Sally” is a clinical psychologist and award-winning mental health advocate with her own personal experience of losing her beloved brother to suicide. Her mission of giving voice to people who’ve lived through suicide thoughts, attempts, and loss and to help those in despair rekindle a passion for living.

In addition to helping leaders and communities implement innovative approaches to suicide prevention, Sally is the lead author on the National Guidelines for Workplace Suicide Prevention, President of United Suicide Survivors International, and co-founder of “Man Therapy” ( She also co-edits the Guts, Grit & the Grind book series that provides men and the people who love them with tools to help them better understand and cope with life’s challenges.

Sally has a TEDx talk and gave an invited address at the White House in 2016. Her impressive list of partners includes the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, the FBI, Chubb Insurance, and Southwest Airlines. She has also spoken and consulted internationally including Australia, Ireland, Singapore, Taiwan, Denmark and Belgium.

The public health tragedy of suicide continues to wreak havoc in the lives of millions of Americans. This daunting challenge leaves many mental health providers feeling confused, overwhelmed, and even scared. Many often feel at a loss on how best to help people experiencing suicidal intensity and suicide grief.

This workshop will transform how you view and work with people who are fighting to stay and will give you tools you need to help them help themselves. You will dive deeply into a comprehensive approach to suicide risk assessment and intervention and gain confidence and a heightened sense of compassion that are essential to understanding where clients are on their life journeys. Collaborating with clients, you will find ways to instill hope and a renewed desire to invest in lives that are worth living.

Course Objectives

At the conclusion of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify key fears, concerns and gaps in training that create barriers in client-therapist rapport
  2. List several “upstream, midstream, and downstream” approaches to suicide prevention – in and outside of the therapeutic relationship
  3. Establish connection and collaboration with individuals at risk of suicide as an ally not an adversary
  4. Use self-empowerment with clients when designing a crisis response and safety plans
  5. List reasons why “contracting for safety” and “clipboard counseling” are no longer considered a best practice
  6. Assess and review access to lethal means through a negotiated partnership agreement that meets people where they are
  7. Use universally accessible tools to help clients regulate surges in suicidal intensity and stay out of the hospital
  8. Describe the complexities in suicide grief and trauma and provide support across the lifespan

Instructional Level


Licensed mental health professionals employed through Kaiser Permanente and psychological assistants performing under supervision of a licensed psychologist.

This CE program is free to Kaiser Permanente employees.

Instructional Methodology

On-line Presentation

Continuing Education Information

Kaiser Permanente Northern California Mental Health Training Program is approved by the California Psychological Association to provide continuing professional education for psychologists. The Kaiser Permanente Northern California Mental Health Training Program maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Refund and Attendance Policy

All programs offered on KP Learn for CE credit through the KP Northern California Mental Health Training website are free of charge to Kaiser Permanente Staff and trainees. Once a course is selected in the KP NCAL MH Training Website, the registration process begins, and it will appear in the individuals KP Learn profile for completion within 90 days.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Those who attend the program in full and complete the appropriate evaluation form will receive CE credits. Please note that credit will only be granted to those who attend the entire program. An attestation of attendance will be given once the individual has completed viewing the program, which will then initiate the final steps of completing the evaluation forms to receive a certificate of completion.

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