Conducting a Virtual Suicide Assessment Checklist

This checklist complements the guidance offered in Comprehensive School Suicide Prevention in a Time of Distance Learning, is supported by the checklist titled Preparing for School Suicide Intervention in a Time of Distance Learning: A Prevention Checklist and is designed to stimulate thinking about conducting school suicide intervention via telehealth. It should not supplant, nor is it a substitute for, approved school district protocols.


☐ 1.  Determine location and contact information for primary caregivers.

☐ Caregiver’s current physical location _________________________________________________________.

☐ Caregiver’s cell phone number _______________, alternate phone number ______________, email address __________________________________ other communication options _____________________________


☐ 2.  Contact primary caregiver and obtain informed consent.

☐ If indicated, parent communication with emergency response services (911) facilitated.

☐ Permission to conduct a risk assessment obtained.

☐ Permission to conduct a risk assessment NOT given (Actions taken, e.g., call protective services, ask for wellness check) _________________________________________________________________________.

☐ Intervention procedures when primary caregivers not available to provide consent _____________________.

☐ Reason for referral shared.

☐ Emergency contact information verified/obtained.

☐ Immediate recommendations for student care and supervision offered.


☐ 3.  Document the reason for referral for a suicide intervention.

Risk Factors[1]

☐ Mental illness

☐ Substance use disorder

☐ Hopelessness

☐ Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies

☐ Trauma or abuse history

☐ Major physical or chronic illness

☐ Previous suicide attempt

☐ Family history of suicide

☐ Recent loss of relationship

☐ Access to lethal means

☐ Local suicide cluster

☐ Lack of social support and sense of isolation

☐ Asking for help is associated with stigma

☐ Lack of healthcare

☐ Exposure to suicide death

☐ Nonsuicidal self-injury

☐ Cultural/religious belief that suicide is an acceptable solution to coping challenges

Other __________________________________________


Warning Signs1

☐ Talks about wanting to die or kill self

☐ Looks for ways to kill self

☐ Reports feeling hopeless/having no purpose

☐ Reports feeling trapped/in unbearable pain

☐ Talks about being a burden

☐ Increasing use of alcohol or drugs

☐ Acts anxious, agitated, or reckless

☐ Sleeps too little/too much

☐ Withdraws or reports feeling isolated

☐ Shows rage or talks about seeking revenge

☐ Displays extreme mood swings

Other  ___________________________________

Call 911 if there is a direct and imminent suicide threat.


☐ 4. Determine location and contact information for student at risk.

☐ Student’s exact location: street address, ________________________________, room currently in  ___________

☐ Student’s cell phone number ________________, alternate phone _____________________, email address _______________________________, other communication channels _____________________________.

☐ Reason for referral clarified with student ______________________________________________________.

☐ Assent to conduct a risk assessment obtained.

☐ Action taken if student does not provide assent (consider requesting a wellness check) _________________.



☐ 5. Student suicide risk assessment interview.

Call 911 if there is a direct and imminent suicide threat.

Call 911 if the student terminates the assessment without reason or warning.


Suicide Thoughts

Are you thinking about suicide? _________________________________________________________________

How often do you think about suicide? ____________________________________________________________

Have you been researching suicide online? ________________________________________________________

Have you shared your thoughts about suicide with anyone? _____________________________________________

Who can you talk to that can help you cope with suicidal thinking? ________________________________________

Suicide Plan

Do you have a suicide plan? ___________________________________________________________________

How would kill yourself? ______________________________________________________________________

Do you have the means to carry out your plan? _____________________________________________________

When will you carry out your plan? _______________________________________________________________

Prior Suicide Thoughts and Behaviors

Have you had thoughts of suicide in the past? ______________________________________________________

How long ago? _______________________________________________________________________________

Have you ever tried to kill or hurt yourself in the past? __________________________If yes, when? ­­______________

Was there anyone that helped you cope with your prior suicidal thinking? ___________________________________

Suicide Risk Assessment Data

Data provided by district approved screening tools (e.g., CSSRS, or Suicide Safe Mobile App)  ______________________


☐ 6.  Primary caregiver interview.

Has your child displayed abrupt behavior changes? __________________________________________________

What is your child’s current support system? _______________________________________________________

Is there a history of mental illness? ______________________________________________________________

Is there a history of recent losses, trauma, or bullying? ________________________________________________


☐ 7.  Determine risk level, select interventions, and develop student safety plan.

☐  Student at low risk (current thoughts of suicide, but no suicide plan, acknowledges helping resources)

           Specify plan: _________________________________________________________________________

☐ Student at moderate risk (prior attempt, thoughts of and plan for behavior or no resources, but no time frame for behavior)

           Specify plan: _________________________________________________________________________

☐ Student at high risk (thoughts of suicide, plan for behavior, time frame for behavior specified, and no helping resources)

           Specify plan: _________________________________________________________________________


☐ Provided 24/7 resource numbers

☐ Connected with school/community resources

☐ 911, wellness check

☐ Mobilized prosocial support system

☐ Identified caring adults

☐ Promoted communication and coping

☐ Provided treatment referral

☐ Protective services referral


☐ 8.   Primary caregiver action plan.

☐ Caregiver protective actions

Specify plan including specific referrals made:__________________________________________________

☐ Increased supervision

☐ Constant student supervision (including bathroom)

☐ Means restriction

☐ Provided 24/7 resource numbers

☐ Immediate treatment referral

☐ Mobilized prosocial support system

☐ Connected with school/community resources

☐ Transported to services

☐ protective services referral



☐ 9.   Collaboration.

Share intervention actions with identified school and community crisis intervention resources. _____________________


☐ 10. Re-entry planning.

☐ Consent to obtain/exchange confidential information with treatment providers obtained.

☐ Communicate with community-based therapists/social workers/case managers.

☐ Modify re-entry planning to address remote learning re-entry and virtual connection with teachers.

☐ Provide teachers with warning signs and actions to take if warning signs are seen.

☐ Develop plan to monitor the student’s level of ideation and intent ______________________________________.

☐ Document all re-entry actions including re-entry meetings ________________________________________________.


[1] Adapted from