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What should the Social Worker do?


In a session with a woman suffering from depression, the client recounts, in great detail, a
dream she had in which she bought a gun and took her life. She tells the social worker
specifically how she plans to carry out the dream. The social worker should

A. Share this information with the family
B. Develop a no-suicide contract
C. Hospitalize the patient
D. Ignore the dream


The correct answer “B” – hospitalize the patient. The patient has stated that she intends to commit
suicide and she has a specific plan to achieve this goal. These conditions are associated with a
high risk of suicide. The woman needs to be hospitalized until she is no longer at risk. Sharing
the information with the family (answer #1) is not the best answer because, if it is appropriate, it
will come after the client’s safety has been secured through hospitalization. Developing a no-
suicide contract (answer #2) is not correct because developing a no-suicide contract is not an
immediate enough plan and has questionable effectiveness. Ignoring the dream (answer #4) is not correct because a responsible social worker should never ignore a dream as disturbing and
concrete as this.

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