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Risky Business: The art of assessing suicide risk and imminent danger Online Series

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Event description


This workshop is the first workshop of the Confident and Competent suicide prevention training series.

The two workshops are:
1. Risky Business: The art of assessing suicide risk and imminent danger
2. Custodians of Hope: Supporting the suicidal person

Online workshop delivery
The online workshop format for TaylorMade workshops is delivered via Zoom in modules. A one day in-person workshop is usually delivered online in either two or three modules which are held weekly. The length of each module is 3 hours.

This workshop module will be delivered on Thursdays - 9.30am to 12.30pm.

Risky Business:
Workshop 1:   Call to Action: What can be done to prevent suicide   19 October
Workshop 2:   The art of assessing suicide risk and imminent danger 26 October
Workshop 3:   From Checklist to Conversations of Enquiry: A wellbeing approach to assessing suicide risk 2 November

Register for the Confident & Competent Suicide Prevention Training Series and receive a 25% discount off the full registration fee for each workshop - a saving of $200

Click here to register for the Confident and Competent Online Series.

Risky Business: The art of assessing suicide risk and imminent danger


Recent coroners’ findings highlighted the need for workers in the health, social services and counselling / psychotherapy sectors to regularly update their knowledge and competency in suicide risk assessment and intervention. This training should be a core part of practitioner's ongoing professional development.  

Advanced practitioners such as counsellors, psychotherapists and clinicians should not only have an advanced understanding about suicide risk but also highly competent in the undertaking of an assessment and assessing the level of risk and imminent danger. The training attended should match the worker's scope of practice. Those working in the non-mental health sectors must be also be competent in making an informed referral to crisis services.

This advanced workshop addresses the concerns raised by the coroner and is pitched to the scope of practice for clinicians, counsellors, psychotherapists and support workers.

Workshop Description

Undertaking a suicide risk assessment is not without its complexities. One size does not fit all. This advanced level workshop provides the opportunity for participants to depth their knowledge and competency in the “art” of assessing suicide risk and imminent danger through empathetic dialogue rather than a more traditional assessment interview process. 

This advanced level workshop builds on foundational or gatekeeper suicide prevention training and provides the opportunity for participants to depth their critical analysis of suicide risk factors and reflect on their practice in assessing risk. The workshop investigates in detail the suicidal moment and interrupting the suicide thought with emphasis on moving from reacting to responding to the thought. 

The rationale and research that informs risk assessment items will be explored. This assists participants to more confidently and competently adapt the content and process of the assessment to best meet the context and the needs of the client, particularly in crisis situations.  It also facilitates greater depth of enquiry and does not constrain the practitioner to questions on the assessment sheet. It examines the elements essential for a good assessment: rapport; dialogue; confidence and competence

"The Inquiry report, He Ara Oranga, observed that “instead of focusing on the patient’s best interests, too often clinicians attempt to ‘manage risk’. The results are not always good for patients, clinicians or, ultimately, the community.”   He Arotake ngā Tūraru Reviewing Risk: He kohinga kōrero A discussion paper

The Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction stated that need for a national discussion to reconsider beliefs, evidence and attitudes about mental health and risk. This workshop is a contribution to that national discussion by applying a critique of conventional suicide risk assessment processes is a wellbeing lens rather than deficit model of suicide risk.

Workshop participants are introduced to the concept of The Conversation of Enquiry which is a series of mini conversations that is client-focused and where the conversation of distress is the primary focus of the enquiry rather than presence of risk factors. This conversation approach has been shown to be an effective process in enhancing engagement and eliciting the information required to make an informed assessment of suicide acuity.  The conversation ends with a summative assessment task that focuses on nuance and subtlety; degree of reflective insight; wairua; despair to hope continuum; alienation to engagement continuum; reactive to responsive.

Evaluation of this training indicated that the content of this course is both relevant and applicable to the work of mental health and primary health clinicians; mental health support workers; counsellors and psychotherapists in private practice; school counsellors; frontline health, social service, community and youth workers. Those without previous suicide prevention training would also benefit from attending this workshop.

Topics covered:

  • Overview of the phenomenon of suicide and the 'suicidal moment'
  • What is meant by suicide risk - Predisposing, precipitating and perpetuating risk factors
  • The context of risk - understanding the suicide narrative and contextualising the suicidal thought or act
  • A holistic approach to assessment - taking into account physical, emotional, cultural, socio-economic and spiritual factors or influencers
  • From Checklist to Conversation of Enquiry - integrating assessment into practice
  • The Summative Risk

What others have said about the workshop

“I have learnt more about risk assessment in this workshop than I have learnt from all the suicide prevention workshops I have attended combined”   - Psychotherapist

“Appreciated how you constantly drew upon the participants’ experience.  Will leave thinking / reflecting on my current practice”   - School Counsellor

“Gave me new insights into something I do everyday”   - Mental Health Clinician

"A must attend for counsellors. A rich experience filled with practical examples and learning moments” - Counsellor

"I feel much better equipped to provide support and supervision to my team members"  - Mental Health NGO Team Leader

"I feel more reassured that our staff have both the knowledge and the competence to undertake a high quality assessment that is person-centred and appropriate for the numerous cultural communities that we work with." - Manager


Barry has worked in mental wellbeing promotion and suicide prevention/postvention for 34 years at the local, national and international levels.  His extensive experience includes sitting on state and national government advisory committees; designing, implementing and evaluating suicide prevention programs; writing suicide prevention guidelines, training packages and community resources; providing technical advice to community based and national mental wellbeing and suicide prevention programs. 

He has led multiple ‘firsts’ in the context of suicide prevention and postvention both in Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas.  In recognition of his outstanding contribution to mental wellbeing and suicide prevention, he was awarded in 2016 the NSW Mental Health Commissioner's Community Champion Award.  He currently sits on the Health and Disability Ethics Committee.

A pioneer in suicide risk assessment training in this country, Barry's insights are informed by a comprehensive and critical understanding of the research and latest thinking in both the national and international suicide prevention sector.

Drawing also on his extensive experience in engaging, assessing and supporting suicidal people from different cultures, age groups,genders and sexualities,he offers practical and time proven approaches to undertaking an effective assessment.

As a health sociologist, Barry offers an unique insight into the evolving phenomenon of suicide in the New Zealand context and the critical social and cultural determinants that have influenced it, insights that very few others trainers or training programs in this country provide. The workshop is enriched by the learnings from Barry's own lived experience of depression and suicidality and his pathway to recovery.

After a number of years overseas, Barry is living back in New Zealand and is passionate about building the knowledge base, competence and capability within our country to effectively respond to the unacceptably high rate of suicide in this country.


Places in the workshop are limited. If the workshop is full please register your name on the waitlist

Group Booking Discount: Book 3 or more participants in one booking and receive 30% discount off each registration

Payment: Payment is by either:
Credit Card (Visa or Mastercard) or 
Instalment payment (ZIP and Afterpay) 
Invoice - Organisations can request to pay by invoice. At payment method click on Invoice,

    Terms for Payment By Invoice
    Payment by Invoice is only for NGOs, Government Departments, Te Whatu Ora, PHOs, Schools and tertiary organisations, businesses.

    By selecting to pay by invoice the organisation agrees to the following conditions:

    1.  Your place in the workshop is not confirmed until payment has been received. Payment of the invoice must be made within seven days of registering to avoid having your registration cancelled. Late payment fees apply.

    2.  A Tax Invoice from TaylorMade Training and Consulting will be sent to you separately which will contain bank details for payment.  

    3.  By registering for the workshop, you agree to the cancellation and policy. (refer below).  Organisations who cancel within seven days of the workshop and have not paid the invoice for the outstanding registration fee are still obligated to pay the outstanding debt.

    Cancellation and Refund Policy
    Workshops can fill quickly. If you are no longer able to attend the workshop please cancel your registration as soon as possible. The following refund policy is strictly adhered to.

    Cancellation up to seven days prior to the commencement of the workshop:  Full Refund less $40+GST admin fee

    Cancellation within seven days prior to the commencement of the workshop: No refund but registration can be transferred to another person. To transfer your registration log on to your registration and update the name and contact details to the new person attending.

    Non attendance:   No refund

    Disclaimer: The information and professional advice delivered in the workshop and the associated printed material is provided solely on the basis that before relying on this material, participants should obtain appropriate advice relevant to their particular circumstance to evaluate its accuracy, currency, completeness and relevance for their purposes. TaylorMade Training and Consulting will not be liable for any damages of any kind to any person or entity arising from the use of this information. Your attendance at this workshop reflects your acceptance of this statement.

    Organiser Contact Details

    Barry Taylor
    Principal Consultant |  TaylorMade Training and Consulting
    Office:  04 280 0146                           Mobile:  022 397 9294
    Email:   Website:

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    Refund policy

    Refunds are available up to 7 days prior to the event