Risk Assessment (cont’d)

According to the SAD PERSONS Scale, Jay requires a risk assessment. The SAD PERSONS Scale provides a basic acronym for ten factors to be mindful of when determining if a client requires a risk assessment (Hays, 2014). The ten factors include Sex, Age, Depression, Previous attempt, Ethanol abuse, Rational thinking loss, Social support loss, Organized plan, No spouse, and Sickness. According to the SAD PERSONS Scale, an individual will receive a point for a positive answer to each of the following factors: sex is male; under 19 years-old or over 45 years-old; depression is present; previous attempt at suicide; ethanol or other substance abuse; rational thinking loss; social supports minimal; organized plan; widowed, divorced, or single; sickness.

Risk Assessment

The following questions would be a compliment to the information provided in the section above:

  • Do you think that you would be better off dead or do you wish you were dead?
  • Do you have thoughts of injuring yourself or others?
  • How often do you think about suicide?
  • Do you have a plan to carry out the suicide?
  • How would you commit suicide?
  • Do you have the weapons or items necessary to commit suicide?
    • What are the items or weapons?
  • Would you deliberately injure yourself without intending to die?
  • If you did commit suicide, would you hope to be rescued?
  • Have you ever attempted suicide in the past?
  • What do you think will happen to your wife and kids if you commit suicide?


There are several reasons why Jay requires a risk assessment. Individuals who have psychological distress or mental disorders are significantly more likely than others to be vulnerable to suicide. Further, stressful situations are many times the precipitating cause of suicidal ideation (Hays, 2014). Jay is in a stressful situation as his wife has left him and filed a restraining order against him, he is unemployed, and he does not get to see his kids. Substance abuse significantly increases the risk of suicide for a client. The suicide risk for a person that abuses substances is fifty to seventy percent higher than normal individuals (Berman, 2006). Jay is an active alcoholic, and his alcoholism is as bad as it gets at this moment in time. Finally, Jay has recently had thoughts of wishing he were dead. As described above, several of the red flags for a person that might potentially commit suicide are present. Jay is definitely a potential suicide risk and he requires a risk assessment.

This post discusses the scenario of a guy that requires a risk assessment along with the reasoning behind why he requires a risk assessment. In the last section of the paper, the writer outlines how he would assess the client.


Jay is a 56-year-old Caucasian man. Jay is slightly underweight and 6’4”. Jay has trouble maintaining eye contact. Jay also has a 5-year-old boy and a 10-year-old boy. Jay went to treatment for his alcoholism six months ago. He has since relapsed and his wife, Sue, has asked for separation. Sue has also filed a restraining order against Jay. Since Sue has filed a restraining order against him, Jay has only been able to see his kids on a limited basis. Further, Jay and his wife have burned through a significant portion of their retirement, as Jay has been unemployed for over a year. Jay was terminated due to his excessive alcohol abuse. His kids are his world and not being able to see them has caused him to go into a severe depression. Being unemployed and not having a purpose is making matters worse. Further, his close friends and most of the other people in his life want nothing to do with him until he can get his alcoholism under control. He admits to having frequent thoughts of wishing he were not alive. However, he denies having thoughts of actual suicide.

For the past several weeks, Jay has been living by himself in an apartment. He spends most of his time in isolation. He has gone to a few AA meetings. However, he is not willing to surrender to the program. Jay is only able to get a few days of sobriety at a time. He does not want to go back to treatment, because that will mean that he will not get to see his kids. However, Jay would desperately like to get back together with Sue. He desperately wants to be back living with and seeing his kids on a daily basis.

If Jay wants his wife and kids back, he needs to get and stay sober. The last treatment center he went to was across the country and most of the other patients were Heroin addicts in their twenties. Jay could not relate to these kids and he felt that the treatment was ineffective. He blames his relapse on the treatment center. Plus, treatment is a significant expense and he and his wife have already burned through a significant amount of their savings. Another option for Jay is sober living. However, Jay does not want to follow the rules and policies associated with the sober living home that he has looked at. He is open to sober living on his own terms. He wants his own room, he wants to come and go as he pleases, and does not want to be bound by rules. In other words, he wants his own apartment, which is a setup for failure.