C-SSRS

Discover how to use the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) to evaluate suicidal ideation and behavior. Download a PDF copy of this template.

By Ericka Pingol on Jun 20, 2024.

Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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C-SSRS PDF Example
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What is a Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale?

The Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) is a widely used suicide risk assessment tool for evaluating suicide risk and ideation. Mental health professionals use this in community and healthcare settings to identify individuals who may be at risk of suicide or self-harm, and it can also be used in research studies to measure the prevalence and severity of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

The C-SSRS includes questions about various topics related to suicide or self-harm to assess suicide risk factors. Such topics include intent, plan, method selection, actual suicide attempt or attempts, rescue factors, and lethality. It also assesses the presence of protective factors such as social support. The C-SSRS was designed to be brief and easy to administer in clinical and research settings.

The scale is validated for use across age groups and has been translated into many different languages. It also provides important information about an individual's suicide risk and ideation, which can help mental health professionals make informed decisions about treatment, patient safety monitoring procedures, or further assessment.

In addition to providing insight into the severity of suicidal thoughts or behaviors, the C-SSRS also enables providers to track changes in an individual's risk over time. All of these make it a valuable suicide risk screening tool.

Printable Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS)

Download this Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) to better evaluate your clients and provide necessary care.

How to use the C-SSRS

This printable Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale allows you to evaluate the presence, intensity, and duration of suicidal ideation or behavior. Here's how to use this template:

Step 1: Download the scale

Get a copy of the C-SSRS template using the download on this page.

Step 2: Review the assessment tool

Read through the questions to familiarize yourself with them. Then, explain to your client how the scale works. Tell them it's a tool designed to help people know how they feel about suicide and take steps to protect themselves.

Step 3: Assess your client using the scale

Ask your client the questions on the scale. Have them answer each question honestly and completely.

Step 4: Interpret the results

Once your client has completed the scale, review their answers to determine how severe their risk for suicide may be. You can also compare the results of different assessments taken by the same client over time to determine if there are any changes in their risk level.

Step 5: Make a plan

Based on your assessment of your client's risk level, develop a plan to help them. This may include treatment, referrals for further assessment, safety planning, suicide prevention protocols, and follow-up sessions.

Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scales example (sample)

Our team has designed a filled-out Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale PDF to illustrate how this scale works. It is completed by a hypothetical therapist assessing a client at risk of suicide. You can use the sample as a reference or for educational purposes. You can view it here or download it as a PDF.

Download the free Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scales example (sample):

Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scales Example (sample)

When would you use this template?

You can use this suicide risk screening tool when assessing a person's risk of suicide or self-harm, whether they've only expressed the desire to or if they've already attempted suicide before. The scale is beneficial in the clinical setting, where therapists and other mental health professionals can quickly and accurately assess a patient's risk for suicide. You can also utilize this tool to:

Monitor a patient's risk status over time

You can use the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale template to compare your patient's scores at different times. This can help you detect any changes in their risk level and adjust the treatment plan accordingly.

Assess the risk of self-harm in a person who is already undergoing treatment

The C-SSRS can be used to assess the risk of self-harm in someone already receiving mental health treatment. This will help you determine whether the current treatment plan works or whether adjustments must be made.

Provide helpful information to family members and caretakers

Sometimes it is difficult for family members and caretakers to understand the risk posed by a person with suicidal thoughts. Providing them with an objective assessment of the risk based on the C-SSRS can help them understand the severity of the situation and take necessary precautions, whether the patient has a heightened risk or if their risk is lower than it used to be.

Identify any triggers that may lead to suicidal behavior

You can use the C-SSRS template to identify any potential triggers that may lead to suicidal behavior in a person. This can help you create strategies and interventions that can help reduce the risk of suicidal behavior.

Refer a person to appropriate treatment or crisis services

The Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale can provide helpful information to help you decide if a person should be referred to appropriate treatment or crisis services. This can ensure that they receive the necessary help as quickly as possible.

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Who uses Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale?
Who uses Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale?

Commonly asked questions

Who uses Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale?

The Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale is widely used by mental health professionals, medical practitioners, and other healthcare providers to assess the risk of suicide in individuals. It is particularly useful for assessing suicidal ideation and determining whether a person needs immediate intervention or more comprehensive treatment.

When do you use Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale?

You can use the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale to assess and monitor suicidal ideation in individuals. It can help you identify immediate risk factors and underlying issues contributing to suicidal behavior. Additionally, it can be used as a tool for evaluating treatment outcomes.

What are the benefits of using the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale?

The Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale is a comprehensive tool that helps assess the risk of suicide in individuals. It thoroughly assesses suicidal thoughts and behaviors, allowing clinicians to assess the severity of a person’s suicidal ideation.

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