HealthForumOnline Adds New Online Course on Evaluating Patient Homicide Risk and Promoting Firearm Safety

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HealthForumOnline (HFO) adds a new online continuing education (CE) course, Evaluating Homicide Risk and Promoting Firearm Safety for Patients, to their library for mental health professionals and allied healthcare providers. This online CE course guides clinicians on the assessment of violence and homicide risk and provides strategies to promote firearm safety with patients, including understanding when it is clinically appropriate to advocate for removal of a firearm from a home.

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In light of these alarming statistics and the cultural zeitgeist, we must ask if mental health providers can contribute more to violence prevention efforts.

HealthForumOnline (HFO), a nationally-approved (APA, ASWB, NBCC) provider of convenient, cost-effective online continuing education (CE) for counselors, psychologists, social workers and allied healthcare providers is pleased to announce a new CE course entitled, Evaluating Homicide Risk and Promoting Firearm Safety for Patients, to its extensive library of online CE courses for mental health professionals.

While homicide rates have declined dramatically over the last few decades, in the U.S. homicide remains the second leading cause of death (tied with suicide) between the ages of 1-24 and the fifth leading cause of death between the ages of 25-44 (1). The U.S. ranks first in homicide among high-income nations; with an overall homicide rate 6.9 times higher and firearm-related homicide rate 19.5 times higher than any other high-income nation (2).

According to a Bureau of Justice report reviewing U.S. homicides from 1992 to 2011 (3), men are consistently more likely than women to commit a homicide or to be a victim of a homicide. During the years reviewed, the homicide rate for blacks was 6.3 times higher than for whites. Available statistics for 2012 follow these trends, showing the murder victim was usually male (77.7%) and, when race was known, more likely to be black (50.6%) (4). Relevant to our new online CE course, the data also show that most homicides involved the use of a gun (69.3%) aimed at friends, family, and acquaintances (5,6).

In light of these alarming statistics and the cultural zeitgeist, we must ask, “Can mental health providers contribute more to violence prevention efforts?” Although not the role of the clinician to police patients, the identification of potentially violent patients does fall within the mental health purview. To meet this obligation, clinicians need to understand the basics of homicide screening and the distinction between benign violent fantasy and dangerous homicide ideation; including some knowledge of “killer” typology.
HealthForumOnline’s new online CE course for mental health professionals reviews structured assessments and screening measures to evaluate patients for potential violence and homicide risk and addresses how to differentiate between benign violent fantasy and potentially dangerous obsessions and delusions. Guidelines for identifying risk for intimate partner homicide and spree homicide are also provided. Moreover, as guns are the weapon of choice for homicide, the course illustrates how to discuss firearm safety with patients and advocate for removal of guns from the home of at-risk patients.

Mental health professionals can chose from HFO’s 20 categories of continuing education (CE) topics related to psychology and behavioral medicine. For a complete listing of our convenient and cost-effective online CE courses, visit HealthForumOnline.com.

1.    Miniño, A.M. (2013) Death in the United States, 2011. NCHS data brief, no 115. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2013.

2.    Richardson, E.G., & Hemenway D. (2011). Homicide, suicide, and unintentional firearm fatality: Comparing the United States with other high-income countries, 2003. Journal of Trauma, 70(1), 238-243.

3.    Cooper, A., & Smith, E.L. (2013) Bureau of Justice Statistics, Office of Justice Programs. Homicide Trends in the United States Series. Homicide in the U.S. Known to Law Enforcement, 2011. December 30, 2013 NCJ 243035.

4.    FBI - 2 (2012). U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Criminal Justice Information Services Division. Crime in the United States 2012. Expanded Homicide Data Table 2. Murder Victims by Age, Race, and Sex, 2012.

5.    FBI - 3 (2012). U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Criminal Justice Information Services Division. Crime in the United States 2012. Expanded Homicide Data Table 7, Murder, Types of Weapons Used, 2012.

6.    FBI - 4 (2012). U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Criminal Justice Information Services Division. Crime in the United States 2012. Expanded Homicide Data Table 4. Murder by Victim/Offender Situations, 2012.

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Michelle Rodoletz, Ph.D.
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