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COVID-19 and Suicide Risk: Lessons Learned in Assessment and Building Resiliency

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What has been learned about suicide risk assessment and supports since the pandemic; this includes not only how to do a virtual assessment but also the protective factors found in the pandemic and some of the outcomes which have been learned.  


1. Participants will be able to identify at least one aspect that has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in each of the four main components of effective suicide risk assessment.  

2. Participants will be able to identify at least two critical resiliency factors that have been prominent since the COVID-19 pandemic as well as describe how to incorporate them in support planning. 

3. Participants will be able to explain the reason for increased vulnerability in at least one group that is at higher risk for suicide, as well as explain at least one effective method related suicide risk assessment in regard to that vulnerability.  

Dr. Paula McCall is a licensed psychologist in Arizona and a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. She received her PhD in Educational Psychology from Arizona State University, and her training has included preschool to high school aged populations in the schools as well as work with adolescents with severe mental illness in a state hospital setting. Dr. McCall has provided services to children and adolescents with a variety of needs, including anxiety, depression, severe behavioral concerns, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, Autism, and ADHD. She also has multiple years of experience as an educator in Arizona, with previous teaching certifications and experience in the areas of special and secondary education.  Dr. McCall has presented locally and nationally on topics including depression in adolescents with intellectual disabilities, grief and adjustment issues and interventions in children and adolescents, and suicide prevention. She is certified as a Clinical Trauma Professional and has received training in EMDR. She also is currently facilitating development and implementation of suicide risk and threat assessment protocols in school districts in Arizona and is passionate about providing community outreach to parents and guardians about suicide prevention and other mental health issues. Dr. McCall has been an instructor for Mesa Community College, University of Arizona, and Arizona State University. She has received research awards from the American Psychological Association (Division 33) and the Arizona Association of School Psychologists. 

Dr. McCall is passionate about providing community education and support across various topics of mental health but especially related to suicide prevention, assessment, and postvention.  Information about her nonprofit organization, Semicolon Society, can be found at semicolonsociety.org.