ASWB Exam Prep: Suicide

By Heidi Tobe on April 11, 2022


Today’s topic is one near and dear to us here at TDC-suicide. If you haven’t already heard, I’m excited to share with you that Amanda Rowan’s incomparable 6 hour suicide training is here. On the Edge of Life: Introduction to Treating Suicidality brings a new perspective to the conceptualization and treatment of suicide, and is truly unlike any suicide course you’ve taken before. It’s the culmination of nearly a decade of research, exploration, and Amanda’s personal experiences battling her own suicidality throughout her life. On the Edge of Life takes a humanistic approach and a profoundly heartfelt method to approaching suicide. 

Whether you’re new to the field or a seasoned clinician, this course is for you. It is appropriate for mental health clinicians at all levels.This is about more than checking off the continuing education hours you need; it truly prepares you as a clinician to work with individuals who are on the edge of life. 

Suicide Assessment for the ASWB Exam 

We know some of you landed here because you’re preparing for your licensure exams. For those of you currently preparing for your licensure exams, know that this course is also for you. While the ASWB will ask questions to ensure you’re competent in recognizing, assessing, and responding to suicidal ideation in order to keep our clients safe, we know this critical work is more nuanced than any test can account for. That being said, we also know that passing your licensure exams is paramount in your lives and careers! So the rest of today’s blog discusses how suicide shows up on the social work exams. This is a topic we can say with certainty will be tested. 

Suicide and TDC’S LMSW and LCSW Courses

​​TDC’s LMSW and LCSW programs offer everything you need to prepare for these types of questions. We offer teaching on how to identify warning signs for suicide. We explain when and how to assess. And we let you know what interventions are needed depending on the level of risk. Additionally, we offer MANY practice questions (all with rationales!) to help you truly understand this topic and how it will be tested. 

Here’s a practice question to see how you’ll do with this topic on the exam:

ASWB Suicide Practice Question

A 35-year-old woman meets with a social worker for an intake session. The client reports that she hasn’t been able to eat or sleep for several weeks, hasn’t been going to work, and has been crying ‘non stop’ since an unexpected break up with her partner. She says ‘I feel like my entire life and future are ruined.’ What should the social worker do FIRST?

A. Refer the client to an MD to rule out any medical issues

B. Explore what led to the unexpected breakup

C. Empathize with the client’s sadness over the break up

D. Ask the client if she’s having any thoughts of suicide or self harm

(scroll for answer and rationale)














The correct answer is D: Ask the client if she’s having any thoughts of suicide or self harm. The client has experienced a significant loss that has led to her feeling like her life and future are ruined. While it doesn't use the word 'hopeless' this is precisely what the client is conveying. Because of this, we need to first and foremost assess for suicide risk. When there are warning signs for risk of harm to self (or others), we must assess this first. After that, we could do A due to the physical symptoms, and then could move on to do C and B. When there are risk factors present in the question, we must start there and rule out any risk of harm to self before moving forward with anything else. 

ASWB Masters and Clinical Exam Preparation 

How did you do with today’s question on suicide? Whether you’re preparing for the LMSW or LCSW exam, suicide is without a doubt a topic that will be tested. The good news is, TDC will prepare you thoroughly for any questions you will get on this topic. Unlike many other programs that focus heavily on factual recall, we teach you the foundational reasoning skills necessary for exam success. If you aren’t already signed up for one of our programs, we encourage you to read some of the testimonials from thousands of social workers just like you who passed using TDC. Are YOU ready to pass with confidence?

Already licensed?

If you’re looking for top notch CEs that, like our exam prep, are engaging and will help make you a better therapist, check out our ASWB Approved Continuing Education online CE courses. And if you’re looking to be better prepared in the assessment and treatment of suicide, sign up for our new On the Edge of Life course today!


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