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Applying behavioural activation (BA) and simulation-based learning (SBL) approaches to enhance MSW students’ competence in suicide risk assessment, prevention, and intervention (SRAPI)
Social Work Education  (IF),  Pub Date : 2021-09-17, DOI: 10.1080/02615479.2021.1976136
Eunjung Lee, Toula Kourgiantakis

ABSTRACT

Providing adequate training on suicide assessment and intervention for students is of utmost importance in social work education. Given students’ anxiety around working with clients who have potential risk of suicide, scholars underline the benefits of experiential learning to enhance competence in MSW students in suicide risk assessment, prevention, and intervention (SRAPI). This paper illustrates how a required advanced mental health practice course has utilized simulation-based learning (SBL) and behavioural activation (BA) to foster specific skill building in SRAPI. Using a flipped classroom approach permitted students to increase knowledge related to suicide and BA using a self-guided online format. They also had opportunities to apply the online learning to classroom learning through practice activities. SBL was an innovative pedagogical approach that was critical for SRAPI training as it provides students with opportunities to engage in simulated practice with no harm to real clients. Using BA, students learned to conduct detailed functional analysis of suicide risks with corresponding graded tasks to mitigate suicidal risk. This paper discusses lessons learned from the SRAPI training and makes suggestions for future research and educational policies in social work education.