(aimed at MVPN volunteers & PSC, but you are in the right place)
The C-SSRS Screener is a 6-question tool that is proven to identify suicidality. There is a large body of evidence that it works and works in two ways – it lets us know who is at risk for suicide but it also helps determine who is not. This lets folks concentrate on those genuinely at risk. You do not have to be a mental health pro or have much training to use it. Ask the questions. Ask. Look at the color. React.
You will save lives.
The form is color-coded and tells plainly that, if a person is at risk, they should not be left alone and should receive emergency care. For us as Veterans advocates, MVPN volunteers, or Peer Service Coordinators when not at work in LMHA this means: stay with the person, take them to the Emergency Room, or call 9-1-1. Or even call the Veterans Hotline and get the person on the line with them.
Period. Don’t second-guess the instrument. Don’t think you have to solve all the problems. Don’t avoid helping because it is too time-consuming. You are not responsible for solving the problem right then or delivering treatment. Turn the person over to emergency treatment. They will survive and with planning and support later, hopefully thrive. But it’s imperative to keep them alive first.
You can get more detailed training by watching training and lessons available at: http://cssrs.columbia.edu/training/training-options/ . There are easy lessons such as:
or sign for this one and get a certificate for your records:
or even just watch
This process is not difficult and it is well supported by a lot of evidence. Each of you provides many services to veterans, your communities, and families. In some cases people worry about liabilities, the proper actions to take, try to remember a class from a few years ago … nope. Stop. Ask the person the questions on the form. Act.
You’ve saved a life. You can share this with others. You can print them and leave them in stacks around your offices. You can write TexVet at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will print them for you.
The C-SSRS does not solve a person’s problems and it’s not treatment. But, it can ensure the person is around the next day to begin solving problems or seeking treatment. That's really all there is. Check below the fold for additional information and training links. Download a copy of the ACE Card with the C-SSRS here. Ask - Check - Act - Save a life. Thank you.
Go here for different versions of the C-SSRS and links to training, evidence, and more.