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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: David C. Clark, PhD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This edited book integrates ideas about how to balance high-quality clinical care with existing standards of care and U.S. legal standards from the perspective of the mental health professional.
Purpose: The foundations of this book are clinical research findings about suicide risk and existing standards of care. The contributors elaborate on outpatient and inpatient clinical responsibilities, decisions to hospitalize, pharmacotherapy, components of sound clinical judgment, and "wisdom collected from suicide-related malpractice suits." This is a one-of-a-kind resource in light of its clinical sensibility and scholarly authority.
Audience: Clinical psychologists and clinical psychiatrists will find the book well written and extraordinarily useful, but all mental health professionals will find information and advice specific to their needs. This is likely to become a classical reference for law and mental health programs, and graduate students will benefit as well. The editors are among the most knowledgeable authorities in the country.
Features: The complexity of the clinical-legal interface does not lend itself well to schematic illustrations. The reference documentation is thorough and up-to date. There is no index, but an index would be helpful in a subsequent edition. Overall this is an attractive book, well organized and beautifully typeset.
Assessment: "Suicide studies" is a young field which is rapidly coming into its own, as field-specific methods are developed and empirical rigor begins to set the predominant tone. This valuable book offers the best of clinical salience, scientific thoroughness, and legal scholarship as applied to the most difficult and complex of mental health topics — managing suicidal patients. All mental health professionals will want their own copy to mark up and re-read.