Many suicide risk assessment tools are available to assist you in determining the intensity and danger of a person’s suicidal thoughts. I describe several in the book Helping the Suicidal Person: Tips and Techniques for Professionals. Here, I provide links to assessment instruments that are available online at no charge.
The Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS)
The C-SSRS is available in quite a few different versions, including scales for children and people with cognitive impairment. This site contains all of them.
L-RAMP (Linehan Risk Assessment & Management Protocol)
This 7-page assessment instrument enables you to provide the reason for the assessment, to check off which risk and protective factors for suicide are present, note the clinical actions you took, and document your assessment of the person’s level of risk. This tool was developed for research studies and has obvious relevance for clinicians, too.
PHQ-9 (Patient Health Questionnaire-9)
This isn’t a suicide risk assessment scale per se; it assesses depression. However, a research study found that the last item, which asks about thoughts of self-harm or death, can distinguish people who go on to attempt or die by suicide. You can find the PHQ-9 in other languages and lengths here.
Reasons for Living Inventory
Long version (72 items)
Shortened version (48 items)
The Reasons for Living Inventory, developed by psychologist Marsha Linehan, assesses the strength of a person’s reasons for living in various categories, including responsibilities to family and fear of death. It is also available in several other languages here.