Addressing Concealed Suicidality: A Flexible and Contextual Approach to Suicide Risk Assessment in Adults

Jay Nagdimon, Christopher McGovern, Michael Craw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Concealed suicidality can be a major impediment for clinicians conducting a suicide risk assessment. Client minimization and denial of suicidal thoughts can lead clinicians to undertreat and under-monitor clients experiencing a suicidal crisis. Five recommendations are given to address potential weak areas of suicide assessment with adults including routinized processes and a reliance on assessment instruments that may underestimate risk when individuals have no prior attempts or significant mental illness. Specifically, the authors highlight the importance of continued training and education in suicide assessment, how considering the context of the assessment can heighten one’s sensitivity to concealment of suicidal ideation and how different assessment instruments and interview techniques, when chosen with care, can increase the candor of client expression. The authors also recommend attending to clinician anxiety both as a way of maintaining rapport as well as a method of identifying clues that the assessment is not producing accurate information. Finally, application of recommendations is demonstrated through case vignettes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-250
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Contemporary Psychotherapy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes


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