Working with a Suicidal client: Paul is a recent widow after his wife of 45 years passed away from cancer.

Discussion One

Sometimes experiencing a crisis leads people to consider suicide. It is important for social workers and human service professionals to feel comfortable with the topic of suicide and confident in their ability to assess potential lethality and intervene with the appropriate level of care.

For this Discussion, reflect on the following scenario. Then consider how you might intervene with Paul.

Scenario: Paul is a recent widow after his wife of 45 years passed away from cancer. Paul admits that he has been struggling to manage his grief and admits that he has been having suicidal thoughts since his wife died.

Post a description of the feelings you experience when thinking about working with a suicidal client. Explain what questions you would ask Paul to assess his suicidality and why it would be important to obtain this information. Finally, explain how you would intervene to address both the suicidal thoughts and the grief that he is experiencing from his loss.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the resources.


Learning Resources

Briggs, K. (2014, March). The bridge between suicide and life[Video file]. Retrieved from

James, R. K., & Gilliland, B. E. (2017).Crisis intervention strategies(8th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

• Chapter 8, “Crisis of Lethality” (pp. 203-239)

• Chapter 12, “Personal Loss: Bereavement and Grief” (pp. 373-428)


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