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Brown University

On-Demand | Building a Better Suicide Risk Assessment: The Nuts and Bolts of the Columbia Protocol

Brown University via Independent


Program Release: March 8, 2022 Expiration Date: March 8, 2024 Estimated time to complete: 90 Minutes There are no prerequisites for participation. GUEST SPEAKER Adam M. Lesser, MSW, LCSW Assistant Professor, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Columbia University Vagelos College of Medicine Deputy Director for Training and Implementation The Columbia Lighthouse Project Columbia University Medical Center/New York State Psychiatric Institute New York, NY Overview Nearly 50% of people who die by suicide see their primary care doctor in the month before their death. Asking the right questions to determine suicide risk should be as routine as checking blood pressure — and, with the Columbia Protocol, t’s just as quick. The Columbia Protocol — also known as the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) — also helps optimize healthcare resources by directing people to the right level of care. The C-SSRS, is the most evidence-supported tool of its kind, it is a simple series of questions that anyone can use anywhere in the world to prevent suicide.


After participating in this activity, the learner should be better able to: 

  • Explain how screening with the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale  (C-SSRS) can be used to identify at-risk individuals.
  • Identify steps to implement a comprehensive screening program that includes targeted and public health approaches to prevention.
  • Describe how utilizing a systemic best practice measurement, like the C-SSRS, to identify suicidal ideation and behavior results in improved identification of at-risk individuals and precision which ultimately saves lives.
  • Outline the types of suicidal ideation and the four behaviors that are predictive of imminent risk.
  • Demonstrate how to administer the C-SSRS full and screener scales including listing long and short term risk and protective factors.


There are no fees for participating in and receiving credit for this activity.

  • Review the activity objectives, faculty information, and CME information prior to participating in the activity.
  • View the CME presentation
  • Complete the posttest with a passing score of 70% or better
  • Complete the CME activity evaluation at the conclusion of the activity in order to receive a credit certificate.


In accordance with the disclosure policy of the Brown University CME Office as well as standards set forth by the Accreditation Council on Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), speakers have been asked to disclose any relevant financial relationship with the manufacturers of any commercial products and/or provider of commercial services discussed in any educational presentation and with any commercial supporters or exhibitors of this activity.

The intent of this policy is not to prevent a speaker with a potential conflict of interest from making a presentation but to identified openly so that the listener may form his/her own opinion. Any potential conflicts of interest have been resolved prior to this presentation.

This activity may include discussion of off-label or investigative drugs uses. Speakers are aware that it is their responsibility to disclose to the audience this information. Individual Faculty Disclosure information may be found in the conference handouts.

Faculty Disclosure/Conflict of Interest

The following speakers and planning committee members* have disclosed that they have no relevant financial relationships:

Adam M. Lesser, MSW, LCSW
Robert Harrison, MD*
Jennifer Maloney*
Susan A. Orban, LICSW *
Danielle Stewart, M.A., L.M.H.C.*
Maria Sullivan, BS*


Privacy Policy: The Office of Continuing Medical Education (CME) and its educational partners protect the privacy of personal and other information regarding participants and educational collaborators. The CME Office maintains its Internet site as an information resource and service for physicians, other health professionals, and the public. The CME Office will keep your personal information confidential when you participate in a CME Internet-based program. CME collects only the information necessary to provide you with the services that you request.

Disclaimer: This educational program is designed to present scientific information and opinion to Health professionals, to stimulate thought, and further investigation.


Acknowledgement of Funding

This training is funded by Grant SM-17-006 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.


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