Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Major

Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology

Research Sponsor

Dr. Scott Palasik PhD, CCC-SLP

First Reader

Mrs. Nancy D. Harris, M.A., CCC-SLP

Second Reader

Dr. Terry Hallett PhD, CCC-SLP

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to explore the possible connection between suicide and stuttering, identify warning signs and risk factors of suicide as they apply to our clients, and examine the moral implications and professional responsibilities of speech-language pathologists as they pertain to suicide prevention. From the research I conducted, I found that, as a whole, the national community of speech-language pathologists does not recognize any correlation between stuttering and suicide. However, as dictated by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) Code of Ethics, we as speech-language pathologists are obligated to make referrals outside of our profession as the need arises so as to provide the absolute best care for our clients; when and if we suspect a client is suicidal, we make the necessary referrals to mental-health professionals. As mandated reporters, we are legally obligated to report to law enforcement officials when we suspect a client is at risk for suicide. With this knowledge and these responsibilities, it is our duty to educate ourselves to the fullest extent, plan accordingly, and become aware of the warning signs and risk factors of suicide. In doing so, we can potentially save lives. This paper serves to provide the necessary information to build awareness and understanding for fellow speech-language pathologists so that we can be best prepared to help our at-risk clients as both clinicians and counselors.

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