Building a Better Suicide Risk Assessment: The Nuts and Bolts of the Columbia Protocol – Virtual

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Building a Better Suicide Risk Assessment: The Nuts and Bolts of the Columbia Protocol – Virtual, presented by Adam Lesser, LCSW, on Wednesday, September 21, 2022 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm. Virtual. Co-Sponsored by the McHenry County Suicide Prevention Task Force, and the McHenry County Mental Health Board.

Register Now! FREE: 1.5 CEUs for LSW/LCSW, LPC/LCPC & Psychologists (IAODAPCA included)

Description of Training:

The Columbia Protocol (C-SSRS) ( is now widely recognized as a gold-standard, innovative suicide risk screening tool. It has been implemented in many systems across the US and abroad with tremendous benefit– identification of people who would have otherwise been missed while redirecting scarce resources. Evaluation in hospital-based psychiatric emergency departments when it is not necessary is costly, sometimes traumatic, and may be less effective in routing people into ongoing care. This workshop will review the development of the C-SSRS and its administration, covering its items predictive of increased risk. Participants will learn about how to administer the full and screening versions of the tool, how to use the checklist of risk and protective factors, how to customize the tool and how to interpret results.  Population-specific editions will also be reviewed (very young children, military, etc.).

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explain how screening with the C-SSRS can be used to identify at-risk individuals and identify steps taken to implement a comprehensive screening program that includes targeted and public health approaches to prevention.
  2. Describe how utilizing a systemic best practice measurement, the C-SSRS, to identify suicidal ideation and behavior results in improved identification and precision, which ultimately saves lives.
  3. Learn the types of suicidal ideation and the four behaviors that are predictive of imminent risk, how to administer the C-SSRS full and screener scales and list long and short term risk and protective factors.


Adam Lesser, LCSW,  is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatric Social Work in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and an Adjunct Professor in the Columbia School of Social Work. He is responsible for all Project activities related to public health, including the international dissemination of and training on the Columbia Protocol. Previously, he was the youth suicide project director at the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, where he directed the statewide implementation of the Columbia Protocol and other suicide prevention tools and efforts through their Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention Grant from SAMHSA. He has a master’s degree in social work from Smith College and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Tufts University.

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