Welcome to the understanding Suicide Risk and Prevention course. I'm Dr. Alexis May. I'm a Clinical Scientist and a Clinical Psychologist, as well as the Director of the Risk Prevention and Intervention Lab at Wesleyan University. In my lab, we work to understand how suicidal thoughts and behaviors work and we do this in the service of improving interventions to help prevent suicide and to help people build lives worth living. My lab uses many different methods to accomplish this work, including in-lab experiment, observational studies, randomized controlled trials, and meta-analyses. This course will explore the science of suicide research, prevention, and intervention. I'm thrilled that you're here and interested in learning more about what can be a really challenging topic to engage with. Both on an emotional level and on a scientific one. Trying to understand the phenomena of suicide in order to help people who are struggling to stay alive has been the focus of my research and my clinical work throughout the last decade. I'm honored to have the chance to share a little bit of what I've learned with you. Topics of this class are going to include: Terminology, epidemiology, contemporary theories of suicide, ethical and methodological challenges to suicide research, public health, empirically supported psychological approaches to prevention and intervention, and the role of lived experience and suicide prevention. In order to cover a lot of ground, we'll only be able to touch on each topic briefly. I encourage you to dig deeper and read further in the areas that interest you most. In many ways, the field of suicide research is young and knowledge is changing rapidly. It will be important for you to keep abreast of the newest and most recent developments in the field. It's also important to remember that behind every study and every statistic is a unique human life. Many of them gone too soon. Throughout this course, I'll provide links to readings and video clips from individuals who have experienced suicidal crisis themselves, as well as people who have lost loved ones to suicide. I hope you take the time to engage with these materials and to remember the people behind all of what we're talking about. Now, there are a couple of really important note, and caveats you should be aware of before we dive into class. First, this course is not designed to resolve personal experiences with suicidal thoughts, suicide loss, or mental illness, nor will it address assessing suicide risk among friends or family members. If you're here because you're thinking about suicide or you're concerned about someone else, please, bookmark this course for later and instead seek out a resource local to you today. Your life is valuable and meaningful. Things can get better. Please know that you are worth it. I've included a list of possible resources to get you started, which is linked in this module. Now, as this course is accessed by learners all over the globe, and phone numbers and websites can change over time. Please don't get discouraged if your first call or click doesn't work. A friend, family member, coworker, or religious leader might be able to help do some of that legwork for you. If you're struggling to find help and the need is immediate, please don't hesitate to reach out to a doctor, hospital or emergency service. That's what they're there for. Seeking help is the right thing to do. You deserve individualized assessment and treatment and that can't be provided by an online course. Second, this course is designed for anyone who's interested in learning more about suicidal thoughts and behaviors regardless of their background in psychology or mental health, it would be a good fit for a learner with personal interests, academic interests, or who's working in a field where they encounter mental health challenges. However, this course is not designed to train you to provide any clinical skills. Though we'll be discussing and learning about some therapies and techniques. It takes years of specialized training , in person practice, supervision, and personalized feedback to develop these clinical skills. If this course sparks your interest in getting more training, I highly encourage you to seek out those degrees and programs in your local community. Third, not surprisingly, we'll be discussing suicide and related mental health conditions, things like addiction and depression throughout this course. We'll be also watching a few videos of actors portraying individuals with mental health conditions. A resource sheet is provided on the course website to give you more ideas of where to get help or support if you need it. However, I'm not able to provide treatment or individualized resources to learners. If you realize after you get started that the content of the courses hitting a little too close to home, or that it just isn't the right time for you to engage with this material. That's okay. Hold on to what you've learned so far. Bookmark the rest for later when it's a better fit for you. Make sure to listen to your gut and do what is healthiest and safest for you. Now, with all that said, I'm very excited to get started and hope you are too.