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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)
Description: Written for clinicians whose practice involves the assessment and treatment of suicidal patients, this book offers an evidence-based approach to understanding and documenting a complete suicide risk assessment.
Purpose: Though there are many books on suicide (including others penned by this author), this book attempts to address the issue from a clinical standpoint with the shared experience of colleagues and evidence-based psychiatric literature.
Audience: This work is directed at clinicians (social workers, psychiatric nurse practitioners, psychologists, psychiatrists, and various trainees) who are constantly exposed to, and responsible for, assessing and managing patients with suicidal ideation.
Features: Built primarily on the premise of understanding and identifying the aspects of a complete suicide risk assessment, each chapter of the initial section addresses an aspect of assessment, including the importance of appreciating protective factors against suicide risk. Similarly, chapters in the second section on management tackle issues such as gun safety, suicide risk assessment forms, and most importantly, myths associated with suicidal ideation. Extensive case examples are included, and an appendix contains a suicide risk assessment self-test to highlight critical points. Correct answers, as well as brief explanations, are offered for clarification.
Assessment: I have reviewed a number of Dr. Simon's books, at least a few of which involve the topic of suicide (i.e., The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Suicide Assessment and Management (American Psychiatric Publishing, 2006)), and this one is an excellent source of information, not only for those new to seeing patients in mental healthcare settings, but also for veteran clinicians. Chapters are relatively brief, but contain volumes of evidence-based data meant to improve a clinician's knowledge, with the added benefit of improving patient safety. The chapter regarding suicide risk assessment forms is vital, and the chapters outlining a complete suicide risk assessment (i.e. including assessing positive factors against suicide risk) are very well done. Overall, this is an outstanding book typical of Dr. Simon's efforts.