want to use this opportunity to communicate my recommendation to all
of you to read three very impressive articles in the Summer,
2001 issue of Suicide & Life Threatening Behavior (Vol. 31,
No. 2). These articles relate directly to the issues we all face as
members of Section VII of APA Division 12.
The titles of
two of the articles should catch the eye of any of us: "What would
you say to the person on the roof?" (by Drs. Haim Omer and A. C. Elitzur),
and "How would you listen to the person on the roof?" which is a response
to the above article (by Dr. Israel Orbach).These two articles provide
a very provocative dialogue and could certainly serve as the basis
for a course in training clinicians to deal with such crisis situations.
The task of trying to develop empathy with the person in a
high state of suicide crisis is well presented. I hope you will read
these articles and comment via our newsletter on the utility of the
techniques presented. We should have an equal presentation in dealing
with the violent-prone person, only there is a problem as to dealing
with such a person at this stage of ideation, versus overt intention.
The third article
also addresses an important issue: "Recognizing and responding to
a suicide crisis" (by leading figures in suicidology, including Drs.
Herbert Hendin, Terry Maltsberger, Alan Lipschitz, and colleagues).
This work adds to the extensive material presented by our own Dr.
Phil Kleespies, in his book, Emergencies in Mental Health Practice.
as these publications should serve as a core for education and training
efforts, which we should be very attentive in trying to develop as
soon as possible. In this issue, Dr. Kleespies provides an update
on the efforts of the Section VII Task Force on Education and Training
in Behavioral Emergencies.
While I indicated
my focus this year would be on assessment of suicide potential, it
is also important to have a method of teaching our clinicians how
to use the techniques we develop. Many lives and much sorrow could
be prevented if we had the adequate know-how to deal with these very
to these articles are awaited -- as well as your thoughts about our
role in the problems of assisted suicide!