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Suicide Prevention Resource Spotlight: The Columbia Scale

Talking to people about suicide can be nerve-wracking. It can be hard to know how serious someone is about ending their own life and what to do about that. Thankfully, there are many screeners that can be used to help navigate this conversation. Unfortunately, these resources are often targeted at medical and social service professionals and as a result they aren’t always easy to use or follow. 

The Columbia Protocol, also known as the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS), was designed to make this conversation easier for professionals but also for people outside of the mental health field. There aren’t that many questions and they are easy to understand. This screening tool can be altered depending on what your relationship is with the person and what your capacity is. They have special versions for families, friends and neighbours. 

If you want to learn more check out these training modules.

This resource is also available in a wide range of languages that are available upon request 

Although this is a helpful resource, remember that this is just one piece of the puzzle, there is no such thing as a perfect tool. This can help you learn more about suicide and can compliment the other resources you have access to like our website, a crisis line or asking a teacher/parent for help. It’s important to remember that other people’s actions can sometimes be unpredictable no matter what resources you have at your disposal, other people’s actions are never your fault or responsibility. Suicide is complex and happens for a variety of reasons. With that in mind we hope this resource will help boost your confidence and help you start open conversations around suicide. 

Also go to our Help Section to learn more about helping a friend or loved one.

Check out Be Safe app by mindyourmind, a mobile app that aims to help young people make decisions about seeking help in a crisis.