Tele-Assessment of Suicide Risk in Children and Youth


Suicide is a leading cause of death in children and youth across North America, and the increased stress and social isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has likely done nothing but exacerbate this already global issue. Psychologists and other mental health professionals across North America, are asking themselves “What are the best-practices for assessment of suicide risk in children and youth?” And, “How can these approaches be translated into a tele-assessment delivery?”

Hear two esteemed experts discuss suicide risk assessment amidst these troubling times:

  • Dr. Lisa Horowitz, Staff Scientist and Clinical Psychologist at the National Institute of Mental Health and Topic Expert (Suicide Screening) for the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.

  • Mr. Mike Velthuis Kroeze, Crisis Program Manager and Registered Social Worker at the Calgary Distress Centre.

This panel format session includes short lectures from the speakers, followed by a Q&A session. The webinar was held on November 9, 2020, and is approximately 2.5 hours without breaks, which have been removed from the video.

Participants in this workshop will develop a greater understanding of:

  • Recent epidemiological trends in child and youth suicidality in North America.

  • The ethical considerations when conducting virtual suicide risk assessments with children and youth.

  • Practical strategies for conducting virtual suicide risk assessments.

  • Advances in suicide screening and review of the freely available Ask Suicide Questionnaire (ASQ) and Brief Suicide Safety Assessment (BSSA).

  • The recently created COVID-19 Youth Suicide Risk Screening Pathway.

Earn 3 Continuing Education (CE) credits from the Canadian Psychological Association for attending this event.

Build Great Teams is approved by the Canadian Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists. Build Great Teams maintains responsibility for the program.

The CPA’s approval of an individual, group, or organization as a CE Sponsor or Provider is restricted to the activities described in the approved application or annual report form. The CPA’s approval does not extend to any other CE activity the Sponsor or Provider might offer. In granting its approval, the CPA assumes no legal or financial obligations to Sponsors, Providers, or to those individuals who might participate in a Sponsor or Provider’s CE activities or programs. Further, responsibility for the content, provision, and delivery of any CE activity approved by the CPA remains that of the CE Sponsor or Provider. The CPA disclaims all legal liability associated with the content, provision, and delivery of the approved CE activity.

Presenter information

Lisa M. Horowitz, PhD, MPH

Dr. Horowitz is a Staff Scientist / Clinical Psychologist at the National Institute of Mental Health Intramural Research Program at the National Institutes of Health. She serves as a senior attending with a specialty in pediatric psychology on the Psychiatry Consultation Liaison Service in the Hatfield Clinical Research Center at NIH. Dr. Horowitz received her B.A. from Tufts University. After obtaining her doctorate in clinical psychology from the George Washington University, Dr. Horowitz completed a Pediatric Clinical Fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital, as well as a Health Service Research Fellowship in the Clinical Effectiveness Program at Harvard Medical School, and obtained a Master’s in Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. The major focus of Dr. Horowitz’s research has been in the area of suicide prevention with an emphasis on detection of suicide risk in the medical setting. Dr. Horowitz has served as a Topic Expert on suicide screening for the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. She was lead PI on the development of two suicide risk screening instruments for the pediatric emergency department (ED): the Risk of Suicide Questionnaire (RSQ) and the Ask Suicide-Screening Questions (ASQ), a tool created to screen pediatric medical/surgical patients for suicide risk. She is currently lead PI on 6 NIMH studies focused on validating and implementing the ASQ in emergency departments, medical/surgical inpatient units and outpatient primary care and specialty clinics. Dr. Horowitz is collaborating with hospitals and outpatient pediatric clinics around the country, assisting with implementation of suicide risk screening for pediatric and adult patients. More information on the ASQ can be found at www.nimh.nih.gov/ASQ.

Mike Velthuis Kroeze, RSW

Mike Velthuis Kroeze has been working with youth experiencing crisis for 8 years in both residential care and crisis hotline settings. For four of those years, Mike was the Coordinator of the ConnecTeen program, a youth peer-support crisis service, at the Distress Centre Calgary. A registered social worker, Mike’s experience lies in training, supporting, and supervising youth volunteers to provide compassionate, non-judgmental, and effective crisis and suicide intervention, primarily through texting and online chat modalities. Mike is currently the Crisis Program Manager at the Calgary Distress Centre and applies his knowledge and experience in leading a team of over 50 staff and 200 volunteers who responded to over 82,000 crisis contacts in 2019.