Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.

Practitioner Webinar Series

Using Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM) With Suicidal Adolescents


Kurt Michael (Appalachian State University)


Date: February 18, 2021

Time: 1:00 PM Eastern


Abstract: According to national data from the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), almost 32% of high school teens experienced “persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness” and 17% reported having “serious suicidal thoughts” during the previous 12 months. Though only a small percentage of teens reported making a suicide attempt requiring medical intervention during the previous year (2.4%), undetected or untreated sadness, hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts can fester. Worse, when suicidal thoughts are experienced in a context where there is ready access to lethal means (e.g., dangerous medications, firearms), it can be a deadly combination. Thus, identifying and treating the more prevalent correlates of suicidality at an earlier stage is a sensible entry point for prevention efforts versus waiting until youth experience much more serious emotional and behavioral crises. The basic elements of Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM) will be reviewed during the presentation, which is designed to inform clinicians on the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of using CALM with children and adolescents in K-12 schools.


Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) summarize the epidemiology of suicide, including recent changes in rates; (2) identify and access feasible resources and techniques related to suicide prevention grounded in science; (3) summarize the key features of the CALM and its practical implications for preventing suicide death among children and adolescents.




KurtmichaelBiography: Dr. Kurt Michael is the Stanley R. Aeschleman Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Appalachian State University (ASU). He was trained at the University of Colorado –Boulder (B.A., cum laude), Utah State University (M.S., Ph.D.), and Duke University Medical Center (Clinical Psychology Internship). Dr. Michael teaches at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and his primary areas of research and clinical practice are adolescent suicide assessment and prevention, school mental health, depression, rural healthcare, substance abuse disorders, and conduct disorders.


Dr. Michael’s empirical work has appeared in scientific journals such as: Clinical Psychology Review, the Journal of Rural Mental Health, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, BMJ Open, Teaching of Psychology, Children and Youth Services Review, Evidence-Based Mental Health, World Psychiatry, Behavior Therapy, Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and The Lancet.


Dr. Michael currently serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Rural Mental Health and is the Editor (JP Jameson, Co-Editor) of the first edition of The Handbook of Rural School Mental Health (Springer). He also served as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Child and Family Studies for 13 years.


In addition to Dr. Michael’s teaching and research interests, he is a practicing Licensed Psychologist and in 2006, developed and implemented interdisciplinary school mental health partnerships titled the Assessment, Support, and Counseling (ASC) Centers in rural western North Carolina. The ASC Center was designed to serve children and families in North Carolina while at the same time, provide pre-professional and professional workforce development, which aligns well with ASU’s strategic mission to improve the health of North Carolinians and to have a sustained impact on the region, both economically and culturally.


Under Dr. Michael’s leadership, The ASC Centers have been awarded over 3 million dollars in federal grants and local contracts to support their operations over the past 10 years. In 2014, Dr. Michael was honored for his long-term service to North Carolina as the Board of Governors recipient of the James E. Holshouser Jr. Award for Excellence in Public Service.


Dr. Michael consults with agencies and facilities on a national level regarding the development of suicide prevention protocols for K-12 schools and other systems of care. Dr. Michael is a national consultant for the Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS) Program and has considerable clinical experience working with adjudicated youth in inpatient, residential, and correctional settings dating back to the late 80’s.


CE Package

a square graphic representing Webinar CE for Kurt Michael.
This item is available to current ABAI members only.

Learning Center Video and Quiz

Modifed by Eddie Soh