Level 3 Suicide Risk Assessment and Management Training Pro

This registered Best Practice interactive course is for professionals responsible for the care and safety of consumers at elevated risk for suicidal behaviours in all settings and across the age span. The QPRT Suicide Risk Assessment and Management Training Program is an 8-10 hour course (depending on practice sessions competed) for health professionals that is designed to reduce mental health consumer morbidity and mortality by standardising the detection, assessment, and management of patients at elevated risk for self-directed violence in all settings and across the age span. Training is conducted online or face-to-face by a qualified QPRT instructor.

This Registered Best Practice training program teaches the core competencies required of professionals responsible for the care and safety of consumers detected to be at elevated risk for suicidal self-directed violence. Following foundational lectures on epidemiology, clinical risk patterns, and the current status of suicide risk assessment, clinicians learn how to conduct a standardized, evidence-based, seven-step interview designed to elicit perceived burdensomeness, suicidal desire, intent, capability and buffers against suicide. .

Data collected is then contextualized within the consumer’s current personal crisis to better understand, anticipate, and implement risk mitigation strategies, including evidence-based treatments. Based on the quality of the relationship, the difficulty of the interview, and the reliability of the data collected, participants learn to make informed risk stratification decisions to determine level of care recommended or required. Training includes modules on means restriction counseling, collaborative crisis safety planning, managing/monitoring risk over time, documentation, and a skills practice session.


The QPRT suicide risk assessment protocols are guided clinical interviews developed through expert opinion and anchored in the scientific literature on suicide risk assessment. Protocol questions produce a standardized suicide risk assessment that includes documentation of risk and protective factors, current suicidal ideation, desire, intent, planning, past attempts and other self-report of suicide capability. Third-party input to the final risk assessment is encouraged, and the pediatric version of the program includes a family-centric interview protocol.A collaborative crisis management, monitoring, and safety plan (based on data gathered from the QPRT protocol by a trained practitioner) is integrated into the medical record and treatment and/or referral plan.

The QPRT Suicide Risk Assessment and Management Training Program was developed by a multidisciplinary team of psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, and mental health therapists at Spokane Mental Health, Spokane, Washington, in response to fatality review reports indicating that a lack of standardized suicide risk assessment may have contributed to preventable patient deaths. Beta testing of expert opinion protocol questions were solicited from members of the American Association of Suicidology and vetted by external records review.

Modularized in a rich mix of text, video, voice-over PowerPoint™ lectures, interactive practice sessions, and other state-of-the-art e-learning technologies, this course is self-paced to suit the learner's schedule. The option of expert instructor time for consultation may be purchased at the time of registration. Role-play and practice sessions are downloadable and strongly recommended.

To earn the QPRT Suicide Risk Assessment and Management Certificate of Course Completion, the learner must complete all modules and pass all quizzes.

The final exam is a 25-item test validated on thousands of licensed mental health professionals. There are 36 items in the exam, with items rotated at random intervals to produce the 25 on which you will be tested.



Due to rapid developments in the delivery of clinical services in non-traditional settings, this course is designed for those who work face-to-face as well as those who may be delivering behavioral health services online, by telephone, or SKYPE. Thus, practice challenges, terminology, and interactive examples cover all channels of communication. Also, given the rapid adoption of electronic medical records, the QPRT interview protocol (for inclusion in medical records) is available in flexible electronic and hard-copy formats.

Surveys have found that very few practicing clinicians use formal suicide-specific assessment methods or psychological tests to assess suicide risk, but do rely on the clinical interview. The QPRT model was developed by clinicians for clinicians to fill this need for a brief, structured risk assessment clinical interview. QPRT has been successfully employed with more than 400,000 patients of all ages in all settings over the past ten years.

Our overarching goal with this training is patient safety.

While expert opinion may differ as to what helper competencies are required to assist suicidal consumers of healthcare services, little controversy exists about the lack of specific training needed to improve on patient safety. The competencies taught in this course directly address how to a) detect suicide risk, b) assess immediate risk for suicidal behaviors and c) provide helpful crisis mitigation services to suicidal consumers of your services. Specific treatments known to be effective in reducing the risk for suicidal behaviors are only mentioned and not specifically taught in this course.

Clear documentation of your suicide risk assessments will greatly reduce your exposure to claims of suicide malpractice. The Institute offers a specific, 3-lecture and text course in this series entitled, "Ethics and Suicide" which qualifies for ethics training where required.

This training is not a substitute for an advanced degree in the helping professions, nor can it provide the face-to-face supervised experience professionals may need to successfully demonstrate the skills taught in this course.

  • Participants must be at least 18 years of age
  • If employed by, or volunteering for, an organization, participants agree to accept all expectations and employment rules of their parent organization. The QPR Institute does not vet or otherwise qualify students for this course.

Major Learning Objectives

At the end of the training, QPRT participants will have increased:

  • Competence and confidence in the assessment and management of those at risk for suicide.
  • Ability to document suicide risk assessment and clinical decisions.
  • Skills to conduct a suicide risk assessment.
  • Ability to carry out a standardised suicide risk assessment
  • Ability to establish a collaborative patient safety and shared risk management plan

Competencies taught in this course are based on emerging recommendations and descriptions of the knowledge and skills required for working with suicidal people as described by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the American Psychological Association competency movement, and as adapted from the Substance abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment’s Addiction Counseling Competencies: The Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes of Professional Practice, Technical Assistance Publication series #21 and #50.

This training program includes knowledge-based competencies (knowledge of) and application-based competencies (able to), following the "cube model" of the professional psychology competency development movement, and in which both "foundational" and "functional" competencies are addressed (Rodolfa, et al., 2005).

Participants earning a certificate should will have knowledge of and be able to:

  • Explain suicide as a major global public health problem
  • Describe national and regional suicide prevention efforts
  • Describe the relationship of mental illness, by diagnosis, to suicide risk
  • Critique the current challenges in suicide risk assessment
  • Recite clinically relevant, evidence-based risk and protective factors for suicidal behaviour
  • Explain the current limitations in suicide risk assessment
  • Recite three reasons why suicide risk often goes undetected
  • Describe at least five risk factors for suicide
  • Describe at least five protective factors for suicide
  • Describe the rationale for the QPRT Suicide Risk Management Inventory©
  • Demonstrate use the 7 QPRT protocol stem questions and the reasons each
  • Employ a guided suicide risk assessment interview protocol to elicit risk and protective factor information
  • Conduct and document a comprehensive suicide risk assessment interview using the QPRT interview protocol
  • Describe when and why reassessment of suicide risk is indicated
  • Apply common terms about suicidal behavior and communicate effectively with other clinicians about suicidal patients
  • Pass an exam on suicide risk assessment and management

Participants earning a certificate should be able to:

  • Describe/discuss personal comfort with suicide
  • Establish rapport, engagement strategies, and apply initial probes for suicidality
  • Demonstrate how to gather data related to suicidal ideation and history from the patient and other available collateral sources, using key stem questions sensitive to age, developmental level, culture, and gender
  • Assess current and historic suicidal ideations, plans and attempts
  • Explain how to collect and integrate health, mental health and substance related treatment history, mental status examination, and current social, environmental, and/or economic constraints into a treatment plan for a suicidal consumer
  • Probe for, discuss, and see to the removal of any means of suicide under consideration by a suicidal patient
  • Assess the patient’s readiness for acceptance of a safety plan and/or treatment as well as the needs of others involved in the current situation
  • Demonstrate and document a collaborative patient safety and shared risk management plan in a concise and competent manner
  • Prepare and formulate a risk stratification decision to guide "next steps" toward enhanced patient safety, crisis mitigation and/or treatment disposition
  • Describe an appropriate level of monitoring in an inpatient or residential setting, e.g., line of sight vs. routine monitoring
  • Write a clear, detailed, collaborative, documented safety plan and take specific steps to initiate an appropriate admission or referral and ensure follow-through
  • Prepare a collaborative plan with the patient and others to gather and interpret information necessary for treatment and evaluating patient progress
  • Explain how to integrate the suicide risk assessment into a treatment plan, set up reassessment windows, and review schedules and document model risk monitoring and management plan (QPRT only, inpatient/residential option available in training modules and documentation systems)
  • State that I had the opportunity to practice the QPRT assessment interview during the workshop, or as directed in the online course using the downloadable role-play and instructions